Pumas vs Toyota Cheetahs: Currie Cup Round 4 Preview

The Pumas tackle log leaders the Cheetahs in a midweek Currie Cup fixture kicking off in Nelspruit, 9 August 2017.

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Pumas v Toyota FS Cheetahs | 9 August 15h15 | Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

To Win (80 Mins)

Pumas 9/2 | Draw | Cheetahs 1/7
Pumas 17/20 (+16.5) | Cheetahs 17/20 (-16.5)

The Pumas welcome the high-flying Free State Cheetahs to the Mbombela on Wednesday, in a game sure to be filled with attacking intent from both sides. The Pumas are one win from three so far, and will need to pay much more focus on the defensive side of things – they’ve conceded a whopping 33-points per game so far – if they are to challenge the bigger unions. The unbeaten Cheetahs will look to keep top spot going into this weekend and will be riding high on confidence after some stellar showings to date.

Steval Pumas
While Brent Janse van Rensburg’s Pumas side have been slick on attack at times this season (particularly in their opening round 43-36 win over the Golden Lions), their defence has left a lot to be desired. Their win over the Lions was followed up by a disappointing 0-29 drubbing at Kings Park, where their game was stifled by a much more efficient Sharks side, before succumbing 19-34 loss to Western Province at Newlands on the weekend. The fact that the away team let a 19-10 slip in the Cape would have angered Janse van Rensburg, who would certainly have aired his grievances at fulltime.

With the Nelspruit men earning a bye after this round, they will be going full-tilt to ensure they head into their break with some kind of momentum. The Cheetahs are a ferocious attacking side, and even a few dropped tackles could allow for the Free Staters to seize control of the tie. The Pumas need to make their one-on-one hits, and disrupt the Cheetahs’ flow as best they can – meaning they will more than likely target the breakdown come Wednesday.

The defending champions are two from two, and travel to Nelspruit with the knowledge that they can, and should, maintain their 100% start to the season. While they may have recorded comfortable wins over the Sharks and Western Province at home thus far, Wednesday’s encounter will be their first match played away from the confines of the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs won’t be overawed by the occasion in the slightest, however, and will welcome the challenge ahead of their clash with the rock-hard Griquas on the weekend.

Despite losing their captain, Francois Venter, as well as Raymond Rhule and Uzair Cassim to national call-ups, they will stay true to their attacking philosophy and come out all guns blazing for this one. The Bloemfontein boytjies have scored a mammoth 77-points in their two games thus far, and the loss of the aforementioned should do little to stem their momentum. They will look to score tries from all over the park on Wednesday.

Verdict: Cheetahs 1/7 (-16.5)
Back the defending champions to come out trumps in this midweek cat fight. Their attacking intensity will be far too much for a mediocre Pumas outfit, especially in the second forty where they have often been found wanting on “D”.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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