Stonehouse – ‘Don’t forget where your roots lie’

Henry

Faf de Klerk, Rosko Specman and Vincent Koch – where did these players’ rugby careers begin? At the Pumas.

“Players must not forget where their roots lie,” said Jimmy Stonehouse, the Pumas’ head coach.

However, it still remains a huge task for the Pumas to compete against South Africa’s bigger franchises on a financial level.

In the recent SA Cup series, the Pumas lost 46 – 24 in the final against Griekwas.

According to Stonehouse, the score does not necessarily reflect how the game went.

“Two tries were not awarded nor referred to the television referee. Why not? It is a final after all.”

Nevertheless – the Pumas are now preparing for the Currie Cup which is around the corner.

The Pumas are now where the Griquas were two years ago – last year the Laevelders lost 15 of their 23.

“It remains bad.”

Stonehouse is at the helm of the Pumas until the 2029 season and aims to give his team international exposure before then.

“It is any player’s dream to participate in an overseas tournament.”

The big concern is whether the Currie Cup series will go ahead as planned. If so, the Pumas will face the very Poubloues in Kimberley on 5 July.

“An arbitration discussion is underway regarding the future of the Currie Cup. Do you offer contracts for new players only to hear the Currie Cup is not decided.”

“Then what do you do with a player?”

Stonehouse got an offer to coach at an American rugby union, but his loyalty lies with the Pumas.

However, he is somewhat concerned about the loyalty of rugby players as a whole.

“How should we set a goal as a team if the players don’t see through their contracts?”

The Pumas have a formidable management team with Corné Steenkamp and MJ Mentz, both assistant coaches and Marius van Rensburg as CEO.

South Africa has excellent coaches and rugby players.

“That player who never got a chance to play at bigger unions – like a Diego Appolis, Sebastian de Klerk, those guys are no longer available, because the unions keep the players.”

The Pumas acquired a lot of services from Varsity Cup players this year, but the players could not make their mark at a professional level.

“This is what we are dealing with. We have a good team, but we struggle in one or two places. If your star players are off on the day, the team struggles. Agents no longer teach players values ​​such as honoring a contract. Money will always play a role.”

“The team helps the player reach his full potential, but then he moves and lets his teammates down. Our country has a lot of talent, but rugby is in a dangerous place in our country.”

“Big schools can be the cause of rugby changing. Talented players start playing hockey because he is injured. Schools pick up players, because every school wants to perform. It started to become a business.”

Stonehouse adds that there is so much opportunity for players to be successful, but discipline holds players back.