Super Rugby

Pumas hope to counter the Frans and 'Spicy Plum' show with their own 'Monster'

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Morgan Naude
Morgan Naude
  • The Stormers roll into the Lowveld with the "Spicy Plum" and Frans Malherbe instilling fear but the Pumas hope their own "Monster" can counter the duo.
  • Underrated Morgan Naude has been in fine form for the Pumas in Super Rugby Unlocked.
  • Jimmy Stonehouse has told his props to be relaxed and trust their system in dealing with the Capetonians' world-class stars.

Given the havoc that they've wreaked in the scrums to date, it would be understandable if Pumas supporters are wary of Steven "Iplamu yesipayisi" (Spicy Plum, his isiXhosa nickname) Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe's arrival in Nelspruit with the Stormers.

Yet the home side might be able to counter that threat with their own "Monster", Morgan Naude, in Friday's Super Rugby Unlocked meeting.

The diminutive but powerful loosehead prop - described as such by his high school coach earlier this week - delivered an outstanding performance against Griquas last week, bossing the scrums and maintaining a hefty work rate.

"I feel a real sense of pride when I think about it. A local boy fronting up against world-class opposition," said Jimmy Stonehouse, the Pumas' director of rugby.

"Morgan is a former Hoërskool Nelspruit star who has, at least for now, stayed home and is adding value to our team."

The wily 56-year-old mentor has been encouraged by Naude's willingness to act as the side's anchor in the scrums.

"Morgan is actually relatively small for a prop (at 1.79m and 108kg) but he really does pack a punch," said Stonehouse.

"He's a very strong boy. But I also must highlight that he's very compact and mobile for his position. He carries the ball effectively and he's excellent on the ground. 

"That's the direction in which modern rugby is moving. You have to versatile as a prop without neglecting your primary duties."

The Pumas are hardly oblivious to the challenge staring them in the face - the Stormers boast eight World Cup Springboks in their broader squad - and have maintained realistic expectations of what they should be able to take out of the game.

That extends to the threat posed by Kitshoff and Malherbe.

Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe during the DHL

"There's been a lot of talk about how we're going to handle those two men in the set-pieces. They're unbelievable players," said Stonehouse.

"Of course we've been doing some work-on's for Morgan and the rest of the props. There'll be no shortage of effort in trying to nullify Steven and Frans. 

"But I believe the key is going to be to trust our plans and try and execute them to the best of our ability. That's all we can do. If even that later proves ineffective, then you know it's simply because of the Stormers scrummers' superior pedigree and that's okay.

"The guys also shouldn't forget that it's an amazing opportunity to learn from those guys."

Kick-off in Nelspruit is at 19:00.

Teams:

Pumas

15 Devon Williams, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Morgan Naude

Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ig Prinsloo

Stormers

TBA

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