Stonehouse: Give Pumas an opportunity

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse believes that his squad should be given the opportunity to compete in rugby tournaments and competitions.

Jimmy Stonehouse says the Pumas deserve better than another seven-month pre-season after progressing to a second consecutive Currie Cup final.

The Pumas stunned the Sharks in the second semi-final in Durban to set up a final against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

It will be the second time in a row that the Pumas have played in the Currie Cup final after they secured their very first title by beating the Griquas in Kimberley last year.

Stonehouse says that the Currie Cup minnows have made a statement that they deserve another tournament to play in.

“It’s tough for the guys sometimes at the Pumas, and what we’re doing here is to say to SA Rugby, ‘Just give us an opportunity,’” says Stonehouse.

“We cannot play in the URC (United Rugby Championship) or those competitions because we don’t have the money, but just give us something — another competition — so that we don’t have another seven months of pre-season and so that we can get another sponsor to invest in us.

“That’s what we’re trying to create.”

Stonehouse hails the Pumas’ fight in Durban and says his side has the belief to win in a final away from home.

“It’s just the rugby followers that don’t give us a chance because we’re a small union. But week in and week out, we pitch up and play a good brand of rugby.

“It’s about showing out there that we belong somewhere. I practice and preach this with the players, and I tell them that if the Pumas win, they will go somewhere. If they have the belief that they’re brilliant and want to play selfishly, they will go nowhere.

“I think that’s the greatest thing. At the end of this season, Tinus de Beer is going to Wales, Ali Mgijima is going to the Cheetahs, and Diego Appollis is going to the Sharks. Everybody is going, just like last year.”

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