Pumas make tweaks as they chase a heavyweight scalp


The Pumas came within seconds of upsetting the Stormers in Nelspruit last week but will want to get the job done against a wounded Sharks team smarting from a hiding at Loftus.

Pumas head coach Jimmy Stonehouse will make just two changes to his starting 15 for their Super Rugby Unlocked home clash against the Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

Stonehouse tinkers

Stonehouse retains much of the side that tested the Stormers to the limit last week at the Mbombela Stadium, making only one change in the front row and another at flyhalf.

Front ranker Liam Hendricks comes into the side as a rotational switch with Morgan Naude, while Fiela Boshoff earned the nod at flyhalf in place of the injured Eddie Fouche.

The coach also shuffled and freshened up his replacements in a bid to end the match stronger than last weekend after the Stormers managed to wipe out a big deficit in the last ten minutes to snatch a dramatic victory.

Lock Pieter Jansen van Vuren will lead the side. The skipper has combined well with Darrien Landsburg to make the Pumas one of the most competitive teams at lineouts. The Pumas have stolen 10 lineouts from their opponents’ throw in Super Rugby Unlocked, twice as many as any other team in the competition; the Sharks are one of

two teams, the other being Griquas, yet to steal even one lineout this campaign.

The Pumas have led at half-time in each of their last two Super Rugby Unlocked games, going on to win (against Griquas in Kimberley) and pick up one losing bonus point (against the Stormers at home) from those fixtures.

The match starts at 16:30 (SAST) and will be televised live on the SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby channels.

Super Rugby Unlocked: Pumas vs Sharks – Pumas team

15 Devon Williams, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Fiela Boshoff, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsburg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.

Replacements (from): Marko Janse van Rensburg, Stepan de Jager, Brendon Valentyn, Phumzile Maqondwana, Chriswill Willemse, Neil Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, Dewald Maritz, Daniel Maartens, HP van Schoor, Kwanda Dimaza.

Super Rugby Unlocked – Pumas vs Sharks – Match details

Date: Saturday, 31 October 2020

Time: 16h30

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Egon Seconds

Television Match Official: Marius Jonker

TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby

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