Veteran fullback Casper Steyn has been named to lead the Pumas against the Vodacom Cheetahs on Saturday.
The Absa Currie Cup match is being played in Bloemfontein and Steyn is wary of a backlash from the home team after their shock defeat to Western Province last weekend.
“We actually don’t like Western Province at the moment. They are doing us no favours,” Steyn jokingly told keo.co.za. “First they beat the Blue Bulls who then took it out on us last weekend (the Pumas lost 48-17) and now they go and do the same to the Cheetahs and piss them off.”
The Pumas scored a double victory over the Cheetahs in 2004, but last year suffered an ignominious 50-3 defeat in Bloemfontein. Some critics would not be surprised if it was repeated.
Usual captain Riaan van der Merwe is still in the team, after he was originally supposed to be rested. “Coach named me as captain and then they decided that because of injuries we needed Riaan to play. I expect to be captain for this match only.”
The Pumas are targeting next weeksâ€™ home match against close neighbours, the Valke, and were hoping to give van der Merwe a rest. “It all depends on the injuries as the coach really wants him fit and rested for next week.”
Coach Chris Grobler has made two changes and a positional switch for the match. Sacha Marot moves from right wing to outside centre with Sam Gerber dropping to the bench. His place is in the No 14 jersey goes to Lourens Dunn.
Flyhalf Pieter Benade is also dropped and Arno Coetzee gets his chance in the No 10 jersey.
Pumas team to play Cheetahs:
15 Casper Steyn (captain), 14 Lourens Dunn, 13 Sacha Marot, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Hyron Thyse, 10 Arno Coetzee, 9 Ashieq Wise; 8 Riaan van der Merwe, 7 Danzel Manuel, 6 Jonathan van der Schyff, 5 Jacques Lombaard, 4 Bokkie Swanepoel, 3 Pierre du Toit, 2 Ashton Constant, 1 Jacques Muller.
Replacements: 16 Frikkie de Jager, 17 Simon-Peter Blakeley, 18 Stephan Gerber, 19 Corne Steenkamp/ Paul Schreuder, 20 Pieter Benade, 21 BC Du Plessis, 22 Sam Gerber.
By Andrew Hollely