DHL Western Province Wary Of Visiting Phakisa Pumas

Photo Credit: Pumas Facebook

DHL Western Province and the Phakisa Pumas will get the action underway on Friday at 19h00 in Cape Town in a match that is important for both teams.

The desire to ease the pressure closer to the semi-final stages of the Carling Currie Cup will be a big driving force for the teams taking the field in round three of the competition this weekend. With four pool rounds remaining after this weekend, six of the seven teams have a realistic shot of making it into the top four if a few results go their way, meaning every game will count in the race to the playoffs.

DHL Western Province will be determined to record a double over the Phakisa Pumas this season and maintain their long-standing winning run against the Lowvelders’ in Cape Town, but they will be wary of the visitors who have nothing to lose.

The Capetonians have only suffered two defeats against the Mpumalanga side in the Carling Currie Cup since 1997, with their last home defeat against them being in 1999.

However, memories of a last-gasp try three minutes before the final hooter to win the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match between the sides in October combined with the fact that a victory for the Phakisa Pumas could improve their Semi-final hopes means the hosts will be prepared for an arm-wrestle.

DHL Western Province head coach John Dobson made seven changes to his side, with injuries to Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel and Juarno Augustus seeing Tristan Leyds, Michal Haznar and Jaco Coetzee make their first starts in the blue and white hoops this season.

Leyds is on the wing, while Haznar will link up in midfield with Rikus Pretorius who is back in the starting line-up. Paul de Wet starts at scrumhalf in the other change to the backline.

In the forward pack, Coetzee is at No.8, while the other two changes see lock David Meihuizen and hooker Scarra Ntubeni come into the starting XV.

DHL Western Province John Dobson said that his team are looking forward to playing at DHL Newlands again on Friday evening.

“It is a short week for us and we can't wait to get out there at DHL Newlands and put together an 80-minute performance,” said Dobson. “We are looking forward to seeing what the players coming in can add as we target an accurate display on Friday.”

In the Phakisa Pumas camp, Tiaan Botes will make his team debut, while Japie Kleinhans is in line to make his competition debut if he takes the field.

The inclusion of Botes in a new halfback pairing with Chriswill September is among five changes to the team.

The other three changes include a positional switch in the pack, with Darrien Landsberg moving from lock to flanker as regular captain Pieter Jansen van Vuren returns from injury, while Morgan Naude (prop) takes over from Dewald Maritz, and the experienced Ruwellyn Isbell replaces Etienne Taljaard on the left-wing.

DHL Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Tristan Leyds, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements (from): 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Kade Wolhuter, 23 Dan du Plessis, 24 Kwenzo Blose, 25 Marcel Theunissen, 26 Sihle Njezula.

Phakisa Pumas: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Tiaan Botes, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Darrien Landsberg, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude. Replacements: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Brandon Valentyn, 19 Ewart Potgieter, 20 Ginter Smuts, 21 Devon Williams, 22 Japie Kleinhans, 23 Liam Hendricks.