As the SuperSport Rugby Challenge reaches its sharp end, the Steval Pumas are anticipating a fierce battle when they come up against the Hino Valke on home turf this Saturday.
The team is back from Namibia, where they beat the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 42-8 to maintain the third spot on the North Conference log. Earlier in the season, the Steval Pumas and Hino Valke played out to a scintillating 41-41 draw in Kempton Park.
Steval Pumas coach Brent Janse van Rensburg said that he expects a similar challenge this weekend, warning of the dangers of the Hino Valke attack, despite what must have been a painful 96-27 thrashing at the hands of the Xerox Golden Lions last week.
“They are a team that poses a lot of threats with ball in hand. We will really have to work hard to contain them. Our focus has also been on the set piece: they are a team that contests lineouts really well and put your ball under pressure. They are also good at launching their attack from their lineout and have a variety of options that we have been preparing for,” said Janse van Rensburg.
Janse van Rensburg said that a key focus area will be to remain patient with ball in hand, particularly after some soft moments in the game against Namibia.
“After the Namibian game, we have to start well and for that to happen we have to put a team performance together. We seem to be throwing the ball away aimlessly at critical moments. I think if you’re chasing points the way that the players tried to do when they played Namibia, sometimes one loses your composure mentally,” said Janse van Rensburg.
Team changes this week will include the return of Ruwellyn Isbell at right wing, Justin van Staden at replacement fly-half and Devon Williams at utility back after the trio return from injury.
“Gerrit Smith will be at full back as he needs game time to get some rhythm. Jerome Pretorius got a start last week and we are really happy with his performance, so we will keep him this week. Ruwellyn has done some good things in the past and we want to give him another chance this week,” said Janse van Rensburg.
The match against the Hino Falcons kicks off at 15:00 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Be sure to get your tickets for what promises to be another action-packed clash.