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Devon Williams to play 100th match for Airlink Pumas

The full back has been selected for the Pumas to face the NonaVit Griffons at Nelspruit Rugby Club on Saturday.

Devon Williams (31) made his debut for the Airlink Pumas on July 15, 2016, in a Currie Cup qualifier against the North West Leopards at Mbombela Stadium.

Williams will play his 100th match for the Airlink Pumas against the NonaVit Griffons at the Nelspruit Rugby Club on Saturday.

He has scored 36 tries.

He has also played 22 matches for DHL Western Province and three for the DHL Stormers, taking his tally of provincial first-class games to 125.

“It’s a massive honour and a privilege to be playing in my 100th match for the Pumas. Not a lot of players get the opportunity to play in 100 matches, let alone for one union,” said Williams. (See the questions and answers session with Williams below.)

Williams was named in coach Jimmy Stonehouse’s team yesterday, Thursday May 4. He will start in the number 15 jersey he has made his own.

The Pumas beat the Griffons 64-6 in Welkom on April 16. They enter the second round of Currie Cup matches in second place on the log with 29 points.

The Toyota Cheetahs XV are first with 31 log points. The Griffons occupy last and eighth place on seven log points.

Kick-off is at 13:00.

Ruhan Meiring will referee the match.

Spectators can “buy a box” next to the field. The cost is R1 000 and includes 10 tickets. Contact Jeanne on 082 323 8966 for bookings.

Individual tickets can also be purchased at Nelspruit Rugby Club for R50 an adult and R20 a child today (Friday May 5) and tomorrow (match day).

Food and beverages will be on sale.

Devon Williams in action in the 2022 Currie Cup final. Photo: Charle Lombard/BackpagePix

Airlink Pumas
1. Corné Fourie
2. Llewellyn Classen
3. Ig Prinsloo
4. Malembe Mpofu
5. Shane Kirkwood (c)
6. André Fouché
7. Anele Lungisa
8. Kwanda Dimaza
9. Chriswill September
10: Brandon Thomson
11. Andrew Kota
12. Wian van Niekerk
13. Diego Appollis
14. Stefan Coetzee
15. Devon Williams

16. PJ Jacobs
17. Etienne Janeke
18. Juice Gumede
19. Jeandré Leonard
20. Ruwald van der Merwe
21. Giovan Snyman
22. Tinus de Beer
23. Lundi Msege.

NonaVit Griffons
1. Stephan de Jager (c)
2. HP van Schoor
3. Neo Mohapi
4. Jaco Willemse
5. Curtly Thomas
6. Jean Pretorius
7. Thomas Ongera
8. Ludio Williams
9. Richman Gora
10. Robbie Petzer
11. Duren Hoffman
12. Marquit September
13. Keanu Vers
14. Granwill Matthys
15. Domenic Smit

16. Dandré Delport
17. Xolani Jacobs
18. Doctor Booysen
19. Michael Benadie
20. Sokuphumla Xakalashe
21. Jaywinn Juries
22. Duan Pretorius
23. JC Coetzee.

Q&A with Devon Williams:

Mark Kinnear (MK): You have played with a lot of teammates over the years. During all this time, what have these men at your side contributed to your success during practices and matches?
Devon Williams (DW): Personally, everyone has had an impact, whether it be big or small. We play in a team sport in which we count on one another, and I think everyone who has walked a path with me in my rugby career has influenced me to become the player I am today. They kept me grounded to keep on working and not to take things for granted and become comfortable.

MK: What was the influence of the Pumas’ coaching and support staff during your seven years with them?
DW: I owe a massive thanks to the coaches for guiding and directing me in my playing career, but most of all, backing me when others did not. Without them, I would not be where I am today or the player I have become. They moulded me into the player I am.

MK: You have a strong and dynamic woman who has been by your side through thick and thin, and through all the triumphs. What does Candice’s role in your life and rugby career mean to you?
DW: Words can’t express what my wife has meant to me in my career so far. She sacrificed a lot for me to be doing what I love, and I owe all my successes to her. She does not fully understand the game, so comments from her when I did well and also when I did not do so well, come from the heart, and there is no beating around the bush when it comes to these comments. And this in fact gave me a better perspective of what or where I need to better to step up my game. She keeps me humble and grounded and always encourages me to do better or train harder, and changed my life for the better. And Che-Kai (our miracle baby) – I don’t think he fully grasps what I do, but he knows his daddy plays rugby. I don’t know what I would do without my little family; they mean the world to me, and I would sacrifice anything for them. Whenever things don’t go my way on the field, I just have a quick scan up to the stands, and when I see them just smiling or waving at me, it changes everything on the field. They are like my reset button that keep me pushing and fighting.

MK: Your Lord and Saviour plays a very important part of your life as a person and a player.
DW: Religion plays a big role in my life and my family’s. I received a God-given talent, and I believe it’s my responsibility to use it to full capacity. If it weren’t for God’s plan for my life, I would not be where I am today. I’m forever thankful and grateful.

MK: What has been the highlight of your seven years at the Pumas?
DW: There are two that stand out. The one is obviously winning the Carling Currie Cup last year when no one gave us a chance, and the other one was in 2019, winning the Pumas’ Player of the Year. (DW neglected to mention that at the same awards, he also won the Player of the Currie Cup, Backline Player of the Currie Cup and Top Try Scorer of the Currie Cup trophies; the Backline Player of the SuperSport Challenge and Player of the SuperSport Challenge trophies; and the Sport Unplugged Best Ambassador trophy. – MK)

MK: Tell us one thing that the readers do not know about Devon Williams.
DW: I’m an only child. One question I get a lot is why I kick left, but I’m right-dominant. And I’ve started to develop a passion for gardening.

MK: Please give a short message to the Pumas fans.
DW: A massive shout-out to the fans for coming out week after week and cheering us on, and for the love shown to me personally and to my family. Your voices in the crowd are definitely appreciated and heard, and sometimes when things get tough, you are the extra energy we need.

MK: Devon, please add anything else that you feel is important or relevant.
DW: Family is a massive part of my being, so I would just like to thank them for all the love and support, especially my parents who have supported me since I was a boy. Without their support and guidance, I would also not be the man, husband or rugby player I am today. And a special thanks to my sponsors, Citybug, Must Be Nice, KCS and Hi-Tech, for their continued support towards me and my family.

Candice and Devon Williams at the 2019 Pumas Awards

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