‘Friday-night thriller’ awaits

Arm-wrestle predicted for Kings, Pumas game

It has been billed as the “Friday-night thriller” and it might just turn out that way when the Currie Cup Premier Division’s two worst-performing teams clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tonight (kickoff 6pm). The bottom-of-the-table scrap between the EP Kings and Pumas is expected to be a hard-fought armwrestle between two teams who are both winless after seven games. Matches between these teams are often tightly contested and there is a good chance tonight’s clash could also go down to the wire. There has been little to shout about for either team this season and they were both heavily beaten in their previous outings. The Kings were smashed 71-7 by the Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth and the Pumas were thumped 52-10 by the Cheetahs in Nelspruit. Kings coach Barend Pieterse is expecting a tough encounter and wants his players to express themselves. “It is going to be a bit of an armwrestle and if there are opportunities for poles in the first few minutes both teams will take them,” he said. “I don’t think it will be one of those games where when there is a penalty a team will kick to touch and attempt to maul and score a try. “This will be an arm-wrestle and playing for possession.” Both teams have been leaking tries at an alarming rate and the Kings have an even worse record than the Pumas. The Kings line has been breached 53 times, while the Pumas have had 40 tries scored against them during a long and difficult campaign. “I told the guys I don’t want us to go into our shells for this match just because it is an important game for us,” Pieterse said.

“Because it is such an important game, we should be more expresWe sive. We gave permission to the guys to get ball in hand and do their magic,” he said. Kings captain Ricky Schroeder said both teams would want to end the season with a win. “I do not think for one minute that this game will be easy and the Pumas are not coming to Port Elizabeth to lose. We are looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I chatted to the guys and said we must enjoy the last game as a squad. have a lot of players on loan who will go back to their unions. “We want them to be expressive and that is the message I tried to get across to the team. “We were hurting after the Lions defeat and tough words were said. “Individually, we had to go and look at ourselves. “The guys got back to training on Monday and wanted to set things right. We owe it to ourselves and the supporters,” Schroeder said. Pumas coach M J Mentz said his team were determined to end the season on a winning note. “The Kings have played some good rugby in the first half of every game this season and will be just as hungry as us,” he said. “Obviously it’s never nice to be in a bottom-of-the-log clash but there’s still a lot to play for.” Tonight’s teams: EP Kings: Johann Tromp, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Berton Klaasen, Waylon Murray, Sampie Mastriet, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Ricky Schroeder (capt), Christiaan de Bruin, Sebastian Ferreira, Brandon Brown, Dylan Pieterse, Tazz Fuzani, Vukile Sofisa, Martin Bezuidenhout, Barend Potgieter. Replacements: Warrick Venter, Pieter Stemmet, Etienne Oosthuizen, Luke van der Smit, Cullen Callopy, Vian van der Watt, Lungelo Gosa. Pumas: Davon Williams, Tyler Fisher, Hoffman Maritz, Leighton van Wyk, Jean-Paul Lewis, Heinrich Steyl, Emile Temperman, Renaldo Bothma (captain), Carel Greeff, Brian Shabangu, Jannie Stander, Jeremy Jordaan, Louis Albertse, Frank Herne, De Jay Terblanche. Replacements: Simon Westraadt, Marne Coetzee, Hugo Kloppers, Reuben Johannes, Kevin Luiters, Deon Helberg, Ruwellyn Isbell. Referee: Quinton Immelman.