Pumas keep status quo

The Pumas coaching team will remain as is for the duration of the Vodacom Cup following the departure of Jimmy Stonehouse to Japan.

Backline coach MJ Mentz will help fill the void left by Stonehouse by taking on the added responsibility of central communications organiser of the coaching team in the interim.

In a statement released by the union, managing director Pieter Burger spoke of continuity and the need to build on the legacy left behind by Stonehouse.

'We are proud to announce that the board of directors of the Mpumalanga Rugby Pty Ltd has come to a decision to leave the coaching team as they are for the duration of the 2015 Vodacom Cup,' read the statement. 'All of them were instrumental in the team’s success over the last three years, and why change a winning combination for the sake of change?

'We believe in their skill and confidence to continue the hard work that has been put into the team up to now, and therefore the Jimmy Stonehouse legacy will continue and be built upon.'

Corné Steenkamp will continue as forward and conditioning coach, while Marius van Rensburg (team manager), Luzahn Louw (physiologist), Dr Kobus Hugo (team doctor) and Harry Wiltshire (biokineticist) will remain in their current roles.

'This coaching team has done an amazing job the last couple of years and we can’t see why they shouldn’t be given a chance to prove themselves yet again. They are a young, motivated team, with the backing and respect of both the players and management and we look forward to the season ahead,' concluded Burger.

The Pumas will face the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on 14 February in the first of two warm-up matches, before travelling to Potchefstroom a week later to face the Leopards.

Their Vodacom Cup campaign gets underway with a home match against the Griffons on Friday, 6 March.

Photo: Mpumalanga Rugby