Currie Cup Round 8: Golden Lions v Pumas Preview

The Golden Lions host the Pumas on Saturday the 2nd of September at Emirates Airline Park.

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Golden Lions v Pumas | 2 September | 14h00 Emirates Airlines Park

The 2015 Currie Cup champions, The Lions, face an uphill battle to remain relevant in this year’s Currie Cup tournament and will be hard-pressed to better a red-hot Pumas outfit this Saturday. The pride of Johannesburg sit bottom of the pile going into Round 7 with just one-win from their six-games to date and, coming up against a side that put 50 past the Bulls last week, may struggle to gain any real kind of ascendancy come kick-off time.

To Win (80min)
Lions 1/5 | Draw 28/1 | Pumas 3/1 

Swys de Bruin would have been heartbroken at the final outcome of last weekend’s game in Bloemfontein. His Lions side, coming off three losses on the trot, conceded an 82nd-minute try to Cheetahs’ flier Sergeal Peterson to lose with the very last play of the game. It was gut-wrenching stuff and perhaps underlined just how far this young Lions team still has to go to be considered actual title-contenders.

That said, there were plenty of positives to come out of the Lions’ most recent display. While they were helped by a seriously below-par Cheetahs defence (which missed 38-tackles on the day), credit must be paid to the Lions mixed up their expansive attacking play, and to the accuracy they showed in making their chances count out wide. Despite leading for large parts of the contest however, their inexperience eventually showed as they were unable to close out the win and allowed Peterson to slip through and score the match-winner.

Having gone down to the Pumas by 43-points to 36 in Round 1, the Lions will know what to expect from Brent Janse van Rensburg and his charges. Indeed, a similarly physical display to that which was produced in their 51 – 15 victory over the Bulls last week will severely test the Lions’ defensive mettle, and the hosts’ forwards will need to front up if they are to allow their backs to fire.

If the Pumas put on a physical display even remotely close to the one they dished out to the Blue Bulls this past weekend, then the Lions shouldn’t even bother pitching up to Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday. Six of the Pumas’ eight-tries came off the back of powerful rolling mauls, and this certainly doesn’t bode well for a Lions pack that has struggled to assert itself so far this term.

The Pumas will look to keep it tight and grind down the Lions this Saturday. Their forwards will be eager to prove that the Blue Bulls game was not a once-off, and that they do in fact have the quality (and indeed quantity) to dismantle any pack on their day. Should they dominate the collisions, they will squeeze the life out of the Lions and their dangerous backs, and record back-to-back victories over Gauteng’s two rugby unions.

Golden Lions
15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Manual Rass, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Pieter Jansen, 17. Corné Fourie, 18. Jacobie Adriaanse, 19. Robert Kruger, 20. Hacjivah Dayimani, 21. Branco du Preez, 22. Jaco van der Walt

15 Gerrit Smith, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Substitutes: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Brian Shabangu, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Neil Maritz

Verdict: Pumas 3/1
I’m backing the Pumas to make it three-wins in succession on Saturday and to put on another typically brutish display up front. The Lions may well battle to mount any kind of attack coming up against such a physical pack of forwards, which may see them slump to yet another disappointing defeat this weekend.

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Written by Shaun Goosen for

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