The Steval Pumas and DHL Western Province have travelled as far afield as Windhoek, Secunda, Kimberley and Caledon, and will converge on Cape Town this weekend for the Vodacom Cup Final.
The match – the first time ever the Vodacom Cup Final will be hosted in Cape Town – will form part of Newlands celebrating its 125th year of existence this weekend. And to add a little spice, it’s a replay of last year’s quarter-final, won 13-8 by the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit.
One member of that Steval Pumas side, who will be watching from the sidelines in the colours of the DHL Stormers, is Vincent Koch. Ten of his team-mates from last year’s quarter-final will return to Cape Town this weekend – Jacques Momberg, Frankie Herne, DJ Terblanche, Marius Coetzer, Uzair Cassiem, JC Roos, Wilmaure Louw, Jerome Pretorius, JW Bell and Reynier van Rooyen.
For the home team, only six members of their match-22 this weekend were part of the side that tasted defeat in the Mbombela Stadium last year. They are Jan de Klerk, Rayn Smid, Michael Willemse, Sti Sithole, Deacon Chowles and Robert du Preez.
DHL WP coach John Dobson has selected Wilhelm van der Sluys as the “sole survivor” of their 2012 title winning side. Louw and Simon Westraadt, now plying their trade in the Lowveld, were in the colours of GWK Griquas that night three years ago.
Louw was also member of the Steval Pumas side which lost in the final against the Xerox Golden Lions in 2013, and will return for the final along with 10 other members of that team – Momberg, Terblanche, Coetzer, Cassiem, Pretorius, Bell, Herne, Eduan van der Walt, Stefan Watermeyer and Blitzbok Rosko Specman.
The last time these two sides met in Cape Town, was in semi-final in 2012, with DHL WP winning comfortably by 33-20 en route to their maiden Vodacom Cup title.
At home, DHL Western Province hold a commanding 4-1 lead over the Steval Pumas, with the visitors from Mpumalanga recording their first and only win at DHL Newlands in 2002 (58-18). The Capetonians though emerged victorious at home in 2012 (33-20), 2011 (27-14), 2008 (59-19) and 2003 (33-28).
Overall, they’ve played against each other nine times in the Vodacom Cup, with DHL WP winning six times and the Steval Pumas on three occasions.
“It’s a great occasion for Western Province rugby and we’d like to go out there on Saturday and make our supporters proud of this team,” said Dobson, who will be head coach of the Cape Town-based union in the Absa Currie Cup.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work this season and it’s wonderful that we can play a final in front of our supporters at DHL Newlands, but we know it will be a tough encounter against a well-coached and experienced Pumas side. You only have to look at the way in which they won their playoffs in the last fortnight to see that they are peaking at the right time of the season.”
Steval Pumas coach MJ Mentz said: “We’ve already eliminated the champions from 2014 and 2013, and now we have an opportunity to do the same against the champions from 2012.
“It sounds easier than it is though and playing at Newlands provides us with yet another massive challenge. The structures at Western Province are very well established, they are a well-coached side and always bring through some superb young players.
“But we’re focused on our own game and what we want to achieve. We saw against the Golden Lions last weekend what our experienced players can do and we’ll be counting on them again to pull this one through.
“We’re going to Cape Town with a belief that we can win, otherwise we may just as well stay at home. We’ve shown what we can do in the last two weeks by winning tough matches away from home and Newlands will be even tougher.”
Vodacom Cup Final
DHL Western Province v Steval Pumas
Date: Saturday, May 30 2015
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Francois Pretorius
TMO: Deon van Blommestein
• Live on SS1
The teams are:
DHL Western Province: Jean-Luc du Plessis, Willy Ambaka, Pat Howard, Jaco Taute, Tshotsho Mbovane, Robert du Preez, Godlen Masimla, Rayn Smid, Justin Benn, Tapiwa Tsomondo, Chris van Zyl, Jan de Klerk, Wilco Louw, Michael Willemse (captain), Sti Sithole. Replacements: Charlie van Jaarsveld, Deacon Chowles, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Luke van der Smit, Justin Phillips, Kyle Lombard, Matt Turner.
Steval Pumas: JW Bell, Bernado Botha, Wilmaure Louw, Stefan Watermeyer (captain), Jerome Pretorius, JC Roos, Reynier van Rooyen, Jason-Colin Fraser, Uzair Cassiem, Marnus Schoeman, Marius Coetzer, Rudi Mathee, DJ Terblanche, Jacques Momberg, Khwezi Mona. Replacements: Frankie Herne, Simon Westraadt, Eduan van der Walt, Brian Shabangu, Johan Herbst, Justin van Staden, Rosko Specman.
Road to the Final:
Steval Pumas beat Down Touch Griffons 57-18 (Nelspruit)
DHL WP – bye
Steval Pumas beat FNB Welwitschias 61-7 (Windhoek)
DHL WP – bye
Steval Pumas beat Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls 52-0 (Secunda)
DHL WP beat Boland Cavaliers 25-10 (Caledon)
Steval Pumas lost to Vodacom Blue Bulls 20-18 (Pretoria)
DHL WP beat Cell C Sharks 32-12 (Cape Town)
Steval Pumas lost to Xerox Golden Lions 24-16 (Nelspruit)
DHL WP beat EP Kings 19-13 (Port Elizabeth)
Steval Pumas beat Leopards XV 31-23 (Potchefstroom)
DHL WP beat EP Kings 34-6 (Cape Town)
Steval Pumas beat Hino Valke 28-22 (Nelspruit)
DHL WP beat GWK Griquas 21-14 (Kimberley)
DHL WP beat Toyota Free State XV 30-29 (Bloemfontein)
Steval Pumas – bye
DHL WP beat SWD Eagles 27-19 (Cape Town)
Steval Pumas – bye
Steval Pumas beat GWK Griquas 28-14 (Kimberley)
DHL WP beat Leopards XV 47-22 (Cape Town)
Steval Pumas beat Xerox Golden Lions 43-20 (Johannesburg)
DHL WP beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 10-6 (Cape Town)
Vodacom Cup Final results:
1998: GWK Griquas beat Xerox Golden Lions 57-0
1999: Xerox Golden Lions beat GWK Griquas 73-7
2000: Toyota Free State XV beat GWK Griquas 44-24
2001: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Boland Cavaliers 42-24
2002: Xerox Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 54-38
2003: Xerox Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 26-17
2004: Xerox Golden Lions beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 35-16
2005: GWK Griquas beat Leopards 27-25
2006: Hino Valke beat Cell C Sharks XV 25-17
2007: GWK Griquas beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 33-29
2008: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Toyota Free State XV 25-21
2009: GWK Griquas beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 28-19
2010: Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Toyota Free State XV 31-29
2011: Pampas XV beat Vodacom Blue Bulls 14-9
2012: DHL Western Province beat GWK Griquas 20-18
2013: Xerox Golden Lions beat Steval Pumas 42-28
2014: GWK Griquas beat Xerox Golden Lions 30-6