Currie Cup

Smiling Stonehouse says Pumas don't just perform after harsh words: 'I'm not some sort of killer'

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Jimmy Stonehouse (Gallo Images)
Jimmy Stonehouse (Gallo Images)
  • Pumas Jimmy Stonehouse has smilingly tried to remind the rugby community that he's not a hothead disciplinarian.
  • It's thought that an instance of him reading the riot act inspired his charges to their huge Currie Cup win over the Lions.
  • Meanwhile, the young Lions admit they were sapped of inspiration following a poor performance. 

Stop thinking I'm some unreasonable hothead.

That was Jimmy Stonehouse's chuckling reaction to a question whether his Pumas' memorable 50-9 shellacking of the Lions in their Currie Cup meeting on Wednesday was at least partly down to him reading his troops the riot act.

The wily head coach is known for forthright manner and was disappointed with the loss to the Bulls last weekend, but sought to explain that he's merely trying to bring out the best in his players.

Alongside him, captain Phumzile Maqondwana - one of the Pumas' best performers on the day - also had a hearty laugh.

READ | Powerful Pumas hammer toothless young Lions with something to spare

"That's one of the biggest things I have to contend with at the moment. Everybody thinks I'm some sort of killer in this world (when things don't quite go according to plan)," said Stonehouse with a smile.

"But it's really not about that. I really just want each of my men to understand that there's life after rugby. You can only play this game for a limited time, so you have to give it your all today because maybe tomorrow you can't play it anymore.

"That's why the Bulls game was disappointing. We know we can win, even last week. The margins are just so small at this level and I think the guys realised that they have to cut the unforced errors."

Regardless of what the message was, it clearly inspired the men from Nelspruit as they ran in seven tries against an increasingly feckless young Lions side.

"We actually targeted beating them by at least 30 points. I know it sounds a bit strange, but that was really the plan," said Stonehouse.

"We knew the Lions are a young combination and perhaps a bit vulnerable, so I was very pleased with how we adapted and kept our intensity. It was just about keeping up the pressure and then chipping away at the youngsters."

Meanwhile, Mziwakhe Nkosi, the Lions mentor, admitted that his charges look as flat as even the most casual fan would've observed.

"Yes, we didn't acquit ourselves well. We really fell away at the end. It was definitely not our best outing," he said.

"It was probably worse for us to watch than you. It was a case of our inaccuracy and errors progressively sucking the energy out of us. Then it becomes difficult to chase the game."   

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