We Won’t Underestimate The Pumas – Sean Everitt


The Pumas in Nelspruit are always a difficult team to play against and their players want to get contracts at the bigger unions. They probably deserved to win their game against the Stormers, so they will see themselves as a tad unlucky; there is no underestimating them as far as we’re concerned.

“We’ve seen what they can produce and they certainly put on an impressive performance against the Stormers.”

While the Pumas are not traditionally considered one of the ‘Big 5’ in South African rugby, they still attract a lot of respect and of late have performed with pride and commitment. They love nothing more than getting one over their more fancied rivals. Lock Ruben van Heerden echoed his coach’s sentiment suggesting that there will be no underestimating the team from Mpumalanga.

“History has proven that you can’t take the so-called ‘smaller’ unions lightly, the Pumas and Griquas always show up against the bigger teams and on many occasions have beaten them, so this won’t be a case of us taking them lightly.”

Under coach Jimmy Stonehouse, the Pumas have a never-say-die attitude and they will scrap for every point. That much is clear.

“We’ve seen over the years that they are fighters, they show a tremendous amount of energy on the field, they play like desperate soldiers and I think that’s what Jimmy gets out of them. He’s admitted that to keep rugby alive in the smaller unions, they need success and results and they’re fighting for their livelihoods.”

Although every team does video analysis of their weekend opposition, looking to identify strengths to counter and potential weaknesses to exploit,” Everitt admitted that the focus had been within.

“This week was probably spent more looking at ourselves and where we need to improve,” he said.

“I don’t look at the lineout problem as an individual issue, it’s a unit effort and as a unit, the forwards let themselves down in that department. The scrums are a unit effort and maybe the synergy we’ve worked on this week will be a lot better and I expect our forwards to front up. Fortunately, the set-piece is something you can work on.”

As far as the loose trio goes, the physicality with the Pumas will be highly-contested, but Everitt explained that he expected a good battle.

“Our loose forward trio should definitely stand up to theirs. From a defensive point of view, it’s about coming off the line quickly and stopping their momentum.”

As far as hunger goes, Everitt is confident there will be plenty of that in this match.

“I don’t think there has been an instance of a Sharks team under me this year ever underperforming or showing a lack of respect to opponents or a lack of effort and work-rate.

“We certainly haven’t underestimated any opposition and this will be no different.”