• Pumas coach rejects rescheduled Lions game

    Pumas head coach Jimmy Stonehouse has poured cold water on suggestions that their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Lions could be rescheduled to next week.

    The two sides were set to meet at Ellis Park in Johannesburg last weekend, before the Pumas returned three positive Covid-19 tests, which necessitated the quarantine of seven players in total.

    This also meant that the Pumas’ match against the Vodacom Bulls had to be rescheduled from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon, to give the Lowveld side enough time to complete their quarantine.

    Given that the Pumas were able to fulfil their duties and play the match, it has been understood that the Lions had mooted a Tuesday kick-off for their called-off match.

    However, speaking after his side’s 21-5 loss to the Bulls, Stonehouse said the Pumas simply won’t be able to fulfil the fixture.

    ‘It can’t be expected of a team like us to play three matches in eight days, it’s impossible,’ Stonehouse said. ‘People shouldn’t get me wrong, we want to play and say thanks to our fans and sponsors. But we need to be realistic.

    ‘The Lions sent correspondence asking if we’d be willing to play on Tuesday. But one must remember that they had a bye this week. Must we also wait for a bye week and then ask for a postponed game to be played? How will they then feel about having to play three games in essentially a week?

    ‘The answer will surely be no.’

    Stonehouse added that he felt SA Rugby had made an error by declaring the disrupted fixtures as draws and instead favours a system whereby teams are awarded bonus-point victories if they are not affected by coronavirus.

    ‘If you asked me, the Lions should’ve been awarded five log points and us nothing. The Lions should’ve conceded the match points to the Cheetahs in that fixture.

    ‘With our preparations disrupted by eight players being unavailable before the Bulls game, can we play three days later? No. Rather give the log points. Nonetheless, SA Rugby has set a precedent with the two-points-each system. That’s how it will have to be applied going forward.’

    Photo: Manus van Dyk/Gallo Images

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    Dylan Jack