The only thing left for the EP Kings and the Pumas on Friday night is to see who will be the team with zero wins this season as they play their last Currie Cup match of 2016 in PE.
Both teams where competitive at times this season but at the end they were just not good enough and will be disappointed to say the least of the season. One expected the EP Kings to struggle after what have happened in the union the last twelve months but for the Pumas one must say we expected better from the men from Nelspruit.
Nothing against the current coaching staff but it seems when Stonehouse left the team went a bit back. One must also say that they did loose a few quality players to other unions and the Springboks which makes it much more difficult for a smaller union.
Friday night match should be a great one between these two teams as both had tried hard to play a more attractive type of game and it was just the execution at times that let them down.
The Kings coach, Barend Pieterse made seven changes to his starting lineup for this final match which sees front row, Barend Potgieter replaces Justin Forwood (concussion) at loosehead prop, while Vukile Sofisa is promoted from the bench to tighthead, where he takes over from Pieter Stemmet, who will start amongst the replacements.
At lock, David Antonites is out with a hand injury and will be replaced by Tazz Fuzani, who will be partnered by Dylan Pieterse, with Sebastian Ferreira moving to the side of the scrum.
In another positional switch, Brandon Brown will start in the number six jersey in the place of Luke van der Smit, who is on the bench. The only other new name amongst the replacements is that of Warrick Venter, while Van der Smit takes over from the injured Vincent Jobo.
In the backline, the only change is at right wing, where Siviwe Soyizwapi returns to the starting team in place of Alcino Isaacs.
Pumas coach MJ Mentz followed suit and made seven changes to his starting team as well after the defeat they suffered last week against the Free State. Flyhalf Francois Brummer, who has started every game of this season’s Currie Cup, has been ruled out due to an ankle ligament injury.
Playing his last match for the Pumas, Heinrich Steyl moves from fullback to take up the reins from the former Super Rugby player. Devon Williams will slot into his familiar berth at number 15.
Hennie Skorbinksi is also unavailable for selection after undergoing finger surgery, giving the 102kg Leighton van Wyk another starting opportunity at inside centre.
Tyler Fisher has been picked ahead of Ruwellyn Isbell at right wing, whilst scrumhalf Emile Temperman has recovered from knee ligament damage to replace Kevin Luiters. Isbell and Luiters will provide backline cover from the bench, along with Deon Helberg.
In the forwards, Jeremy Jordaan gets his first start in the Pumas jersey at left lock, in place of Stephan Greeff. Hugo Kloppers has been named as the lock replacement. Lambert Groenewald is out with bronchitis, to be replaced by Carel Greeff at right flank. Khwezi Mona is being rested with an ankle niggle, with De-Jay Terblanche starting at loose head prop.
Prediction: The Pumas should be too strong for the Kings but in these matches one never knows, but I will stick with a Pumas win
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Sebastian Ferreira, 6 Brandon Brown, 5 Dylan Pieterse, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Vukile Sofisa, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Barend Potgieter
Replacements: 16 Warrick Venter, 17 Pieter Stemmet, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Cullen Callopy, 21 Vian van der Watt, 22 Lungelo Gosa
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tyler Fisher, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Heinrich Steyl, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 De Jay Terblanche
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Marne Coetzee, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Reuben Johannes, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruwellyn Isbell