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What can Emerging Ireland expect from the Pumas tomorrow?

The Nelspruit-based side are the reigning Currie Cup champions but have a new-look team.

Emerging Ireland's Jack Crowley, John Hodnett, and Tom Ahern.
Emerging Ireland's Jack Crowley, John Hodnett, and Tom Ahern.
Image: Steve Haag/INPHO

THE DEFENDING CURRIE Cup champions, the Pumas, named the fly-half Tinus de Beer as their captain for Wednesday’s match against Emerging Ireland at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein [KO 4pm Irish time, SuperSport livestream].

The Nelspruit-based Pumas will be playing in the tournament for the first time, however, they are not in the running for the prize money that has been allocated for each game.

The Pumas have a new-look to their side as seven of their Currie Cup winners have moved on and their new recruits will only report for duty at the team from 1 November.

The Pumas have a lot of pace in the back three with Devon Williams, Jade Stiglingh and Etienne Taljaard, while De Beer and Chriswill September form a settled and experienced halfback combination.

André Fouché starts his first full season at the back of the scrum for the Pumas following two outstanding seasons in the Varsity Cup for the North-West University Eagles, while Kwanda Dimaza and Jaco Labuschagne complete the loose-trio.

Ig Prinsloo, Eduan Swart, and Corné Fourie pack down for what is a formidable front-row and they certainly have the ability to provide a solid scrum for the Pumas.

The coach, Jimmy Stonehouse, has done well to select a strong team with a lot of flair and they will no doubt pose a threat to Emerging Ireland on counter-attack. This is a team whose defensive ability is often understated and it’s not particularly easy to score points against them.

the-emerging-ireland-team-huddle-during-the-warm-up Emerging Ireland hammered the Griquas last Friday. Source: Steve Haag/INPHO

De Beer, who is playing for the Pumas for a second season, said they are eager to go and want to play a good and attractive game.

“We have put our Currie Cup success earlier in the year behind us,” said de Beer. “We enjoyed everything that goes with being called the champions thoroughly, but the new season is starting from now and that’s where the focus will be.

“We have been training well and the boys are just amped to get back out on the park to see where we are as a team. We want to see how well we play together and turn everything that we’ve worked on in the preseason into magic moments.

“The aim is to attempt to score some nice tries and just play attractive and nice rugby. We are really looking forward to the opportunity.”

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The Pumas certainly punch well about their weight in South African domestic rugby and over the past few seasons have been a thorn in the side of many of the big teams. Given the slightest sniff, the Lowvelders have the ability to punish their opponents, regardless of who they play against.

An interesting fact about the Pumas is that they wear two different jerseys in their matches.

PUMAS: 15. Devon Williams; 14. Jade Stiglingh, 13. Sebastiaan de Klerk, 12. Wiaan van Niekerk, 11. Etienne Taljaard; 10. Tinus de Beer (captain), 9. Chriswill September; 1. Corné Fourie, 2. Eduan Swart, 3. Ig Prinsloo; 4. Malembe Mpofu, 5. Shane Kirkwood; 6. Jaco Labuschagne, 7. Kwanda Dimaza, 8. André Fouché.

Replacements: 16. Llewellyn Classen, 17. Etienne Janeke, 18. Simon Raw, 19. PJ Jacobs, 20. Anele Lungisa, 21. Khwezi Mafu, 22. Franna Kleinhans, 23. Givan Snyman, 24. Lucky Dlepu, 25. Gene Willemse, 26. Ali Mgijima, 27. Diego Apollis, 28. Lundi Msenge.

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Morgan Piek

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