Pumas pick rookie at flyhalf against Province

The 19-year-old Tiaan Botes will start at flyhalf for the Pumas in their Currie Cup match against Western Province at Newlands on Friday.

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse made five changes to the starting XV that beat Griquas 22-17 in Nelspruit last weekend.

Botes, who turned 19 on Monday, starts at pivot in place of Devon Williams, who will face his former side from the bench. The youngster came on as a replacement against Griquas but gets his first run in the starting team this week. He represented the Southern Kings in the PRO14 earlier this year before moving to the Pumas.

He will form a new halfback partnership with Chriswill September, who replaces Ginter Smuts in the No 9 jersey.

Meanwhile, former Blitzbok Ruwellyn Isbell also gets his first chance of the season at left wing, replacing Etienne Taljaard, who is left out of the match-day squad entirely.

Up front, Darrien Landsberg moves from lock to flank in place of Phumzile Maqondwana, with the fit-again Pieter Jansen van Vuren making his comeback in the second row to partner Le Roux Roets. Van Vuren will also take over the captaincy after Roets led the team against Griquas.

The final change comes at loosehead prop, where Morgan Naude makes his comeback in place of Dewald Maritz.

Pumas – 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Tiaan Botes, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Darrien Landsberg, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (c), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Ig Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Subs: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Brandon Valentyn, 19 Ewart Potgieter, 20 Ginter Smuts, 21 Devon Williams, 22 Japie Kleinhans, 23 Liam Hendricks.

Photo: Gallo Images