Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preview: Pampas XV vs Eastern Province Kings

Pampas  VS Kings
The reigning Vodacom Cup champions from Argentina the Pampas XV will kickoff the Vodacom Cup of 2012 this Friday at their "home" ground the AF Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch against the Eastern Province Kings. Kickoff will be at 15:10 South Africa Standard Time, 10:10 Argentina Time, 13:10 GMT, and will be covered live by ESPN 3 in Argentina.

Team News: The Pampas XV side just has five players remaining in the starting XV from the side that won the final last year against the Blue Bulls as after the success last year a large chunk of the squad left to Europe for professional contracts.

As last year, the side is expected to be rotated throughout the tournament with all players getting a chance at some point, the team is notably missing Gabriel Ascárate who would be a certainty to play if the match was the final.

2012 Pampas XV team photo
The Pampas XV have won three warm up matches easily back in Argentina against Alto Valle, Tucumán and lastly Rosario. Hopefully for them those matches will have removed any rustiness which has been apparent in the opening matches of previous seasons for the squad and will make them ready for their first test. The match will also be the first for the Pampas XV in their new purple home kit.

Note that there has already been one injury casualty of the tour, hooker Martín García Veiga has suffered an abdominal tear and has been replaced in the squad by Emiliano Coria.

Pampas XV: 1 Francisco Piccinini, 2 Bruno Postiglioni, 3 Juan Gómez; 4 Santiago Guzmán, 5 Mariano Galarza; 6 Julio Farías Cabello (captain), 7 Genaro Fessia, 8 Tomás Leonardi; 9 Martín Landajo, 10 Santiago González Iglesias; 11 Manuel Montero, 12 Lisandro Gómez Lopez, 13 Juan Pablo Estelles, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 15 Román Miralles

Replacements: 16 Nahuel Lobo, 17 Germán Araoz, 18 Rodrigo Bruno, 19 Rodrigo Báez; 20 Tomás Cubelli, 21 Benjamin Madero, 22 Matías Orlando

KingsThe Opposition: Eastern Province Kings

The Eastern Province Kings are expected to be one of the harder teams that face the Pampas XV will face this season, they will certainly be harder than the Griffons who the Pampas XV opened their campaign against last season.

Last season in the Vodacom Cup, they just lost two matches and qualified for the knockout stage and were due to play the Pampas XV in the quarter final, but were denied due a 9 point deduction for fielding two ineligible players. In the Currie Cup they are in the second division, and last season reached the final where they lost heavily to Boland.

They are joining Super Rugby in 2013, likely replacing the Cheetahs, and have brought a decent amount of experience into their side, but it is not currently up to the standard of the Super Rugby sides, and they lost in pre season warm up matches to the Sharks and the Stormers by margins of 25 points, so they will have to continue to keep recruiting for next season.

In their team for the Friday's match, just under half the team has Super Rugby experience. However they are missing some notable players, their normal captain former the controversial former Springbok Luke Watson is out with a shoulder injury, Barend Pieterse who also once played for the Boks and Jongi Nokwe who's body seems to be as brittle as a twig are also missing, and centre de Wet Barry was forced into retirement last month through injury. So their team tomorrow is left with no internationals.
Tiger Mangweni

The teams still does have a few players to watch out for such as Mpho Mbiyozo, a former Springbok Sevens captain, he notably had a great performance against the British & Irish Lions in 2009 and was nominated as a contender for best performance against the Lions. Whilst centre Tiger Mangweni who is normally a full back, was a real livewire player when he was playing Super Rugby with the Cheetahs and the Bulls.

But overall the team shouldn't strike too much fear into the Pampas XV, they just need their front five to set a good base and then they should win this match. The front row especially need to up their scrummaging performance, it was one the sides strengths last season with Maximiliano Bustos in the side but they conceded a penalty try against Tucumán in the warm up match.

Eastern Province Kings: 1 Jaco Engels, 2 Hannes Franklin, 3 André Schletcher; 4 Darron Nell (captain), 5 David Bulbring; 6 Boetie Brits, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht; 9 Falie Oelschig, 10 Shane Gates; 11 Marcello Sampson, 12 Tiger Mangweni, 13 Scott van Breda, 14 Norman Nelson, 15 Kieran Goss

Replacements: 16 Bobby Dyer, 17 Elrich Kock, 18 Reynier Bernardo, 19 Devin Oosthuizen; 20 Danie Faasen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Steven Hansel

Date: Friday the 9th of March
Venue: AF Markötter Stadium, Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
Kickoff: 15:10 (Local Time), 13:10 (GMT), 10:10 (Argentina Time)

(The match is covered live on EPSN 3 in Argentina, if you cannot watch it there you can either watch a stream by clicking here, or follow live text on ESPN by clicking here)

1 comment:

  1. Great preview.

    The match didn´t work out as it should have as Los Pampas XV seemed too excited and gave away a huge penalty account. Still, they´ll bounce back fast.