The story of the Pumas winning their first-ever Currie Cup trophy on Saturday (25 June 2022) is one that will be told for years to come, and the man who orchestrated it all says it is the “greatest goal” he has achieved in his life.
— RegentPuppet (@RegentPuppet) June 25, 2022
Jimmy Stonehouse, a well-known character in South African rugby who is known for his unwavering commitment, has led the Pumas for 13 years during two periods beginning in 2008.
Stonehouse made a meaningful statement prior to the game, stating that “the pre-match butterflies must not turn into ostriches.” To put it another way, he wanted his team to give it a shot no matter what the situation and they did.
At Griqua Park on Saturday, his team thoroughly deserved their 26-19 victory over the highly favored hosts, Griquas. It is undoubtedly the union’s most significant event in history.
Stonehouse was overwhelmed as relatives and friends flocked to the field in the seconds after the final whistle, signing autographs, posing for pictures, and trying to celebrate the occasion with his team in between.
Jimmy Stonehouse wins Pumas @pumasrugbyinstitute a Currie Cup like I predicted @LigwalagwalaFM radio with a hard fought 26-19 victory over Griquas in Kimberley, silencing a boisterous home crowd hoping that a 52-year trophy drought would finally end
🏈🥇🏆 #Pumas #ProudlyMP🌄 pic.twitter.com/C20lNzBkrs
— ARoseFrom A Concrete (@realMadumane) June 25, 2022
He smiled through it all, one that probably won’t go away for a while.”When that whistle blew at the end, it was just incredible. We try really hard at the Pumas, and for me, this is the greatest goal I’ve achieved in my whole life. I just want to thank all the players for what they brought week in and week out. I don’t have words for it. Hopefully, my emotions speak for themselves. I just love this team.” Said Stonehouse post-match interview.
Prior to the game Although the coach had stressed the need of keeping discipline, his squad committed five penalties in the opening 20 minutes. As the first quarter came to a close, Whitehead was able to give his team a 6-3 lead, but the Pumas unexpectedly erupted into amazing action.
Rumors that the Currie Cup is “dead” or is no longer as prominent as it once was had no place in Kimberley on Saturday, where a fervent, outspoken rugby community had descended in large numbers. This had enormous significance for them, the players, and Stonehouse.
“This is rugby. What we saw today was rugby, To see all these people here and have stadiums fully open again is unreal. It was a great game, the people loved it, and the Currie Cup definitely does not belong in a museum. It gives an opportunity to players as it did for Ross Cronje, Faf de Klerk, Rosko Specman, and Vincent Koch to get into big unions. I’m just sad that there had to be a loser on a day like this, and I feel for them (Griquas) 10 years ago, I wanted to ‘moer’ everyone, now I cry every time.” said Stonehouse.
Soak it up…breathe it in…this is real, Airlink Pumas fans💜
— Carling Currie Cup (@TheCurrieCup) June 25, 2022
This comment comes after Smal, who has won five Currie Cup titles overall as a player, coach, and director of rugby claimed that the “holy” trophy is not being treated with the devotion it merits.
The Final was watched by a fervent sell-out audience of approximately 11,000, demonstrating how important this competition is for the nation. The Pumas will now have three weeks free until they begin preseason for a potential Toyota Cup, which may also feature teams like Griquas and Cheetahs.