Anybody’s Game In Nelspruit Today


The New Nation Pumas will host DHL Western Province this afternoon at 13h00 in Nelspruit in a Round 7 match of the 2021 Carling Currie Cup competition.

In December last year, the Capetonians won (28-14) at Newlands, with the visitors ruing a high penalty count, but despite losing their last match in the Carling Currie Cup, the New Nation Pumas will be going into this clash with confidence as they are currently near the top of the log.

DHL Western Province has lost their last two matches of this competition, in Round 6 they lost 21-38 against the Cheetahs and also lost to the Griquas (28-30) two weeks ago at home. They also lost to the Lions (32-38) in Round 2. Wins against the Bulls (48-24) and Sharks (32-31) were their only successes this season.

The New Nation Pumas won two matches this season. They started their season with a great win over the Lions (39-10) and won against Griquas (26-22) in Round 3. Close losses against the Bulls (32-27) and Cheetahs (17-16) could have gone either way on the day

New Nation Pumas head coach, Jimmy Stonehouse made four changes to his starting lineup. 

Three changes were made at the back with Gerrie Labuschagne who replaces Devon William to make his debut for the Pumas. Etienne Taljaard replaces Tapiwa Mafura at the wing with Neil Marais replaces Eddie Fouche at flyhalf who moves to the bench.

Upfront, the only change is Darrien Landsberg that replaces Brandon Valentyn who drops to the bench.

Hooker Scarra Ntubeni has returned from the Springbok camp and moves into the starting lineup for DHL Western Province.

Joining Ntubeni in the front row on Sunday will be Sazi Sandi, who steps into the shoes of Neethling Fouche who will make an appearance from the bench.

“Scarra’s return has come at a very welcome time for us,” said DHL WP coach John Dobson. He brings about his wealth of experience and of course, some fresh legs which is an added boost. I’m looking forward to seeing this front row combination in action because it was time to rest Neethling after a few yeoman performances for the team. It’s a great time to give Sazi game time.”

The only other change in the pack sees Johan du Toit replace Marcel Theunissen, who impressed against the Toyota Cheetahs, at flank.

There is a new halfback combination for Sunday’s clash with Paul de Wet and young flyhalf Chris Schreuder ready to take their opportunity to impress.

Dobson was also pleased to include Dan du Plessis at the inside centre after he overcame an injury niggle. The rest of the backline that faced the Toyota Cheetahs in midweek remains the same.

“We are looking forward to another tough test on the road. Our intensity over the past week is admirable and we are looking to showing the Faithful more of it on Sunday,” added Dobson.

Prediction: Western Province should win this, however, it is the Pumas at home. Too close to call. Western Province by 5?

New Nation Pumas: 1 Dewald Maritz, 2 Simon Westraadt, 3 IG Prinsloo, 4 Darrien Landsberg, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (C), 6 Franna Kleinhans, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 9 Ginter Smuts, 10 Neil Marais, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 12 Matt More, 13 Erich Cronje, 14 Jade Stighling, 15 Gerrie Labuschagne. Replacements: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Etienne Janeke, 19 Brandon Valentyn, 20 Kwanda Dimaza, 21 Devon Williams, 22 Eddie Fouche, 23 Sebastián de Klerk.

DHL Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Tristan Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Chris Schreuder, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons. Replacements (from): 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Simon Miller, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Leolin Zas, 24 JJ Kotze, 25 Cornel Smit, 26 Sacha Mngomezulu