Double boost for Province in Currie Cup

Francois Louw (ankle) and Hilton Lobberts are likely to return to action for Western Province this week after lay-offs because of injury.

Both players will be considered for the Province Currie Cup  side which will be up against Free State at Newlands on Friday evening.

Bolla Conradie, who has not been anything near his best this season, played club rugby last weekend and signalled his return to form with a hat-trick of tries.

Flanker Louw and lock Lobberts could be eased back into the fray from the substitutes’ bench. Louw will provide back-up for the loose trio in which eighthman Luke Watson and Pieter Louw have been in superb form and Pieter Myburgh looks the more likely to make room in the second half.

Both the Province locks, Chris Jack and Anton van Zyl, are in superb form but in the interests of sound player management one of them could be given a break later in the match to give Lobberts some game time.

Lobberts, the former Bulls loose forward was recruited to Cape Town to shore up the lock reserves at the start of the year.

However, he has not always found favour with Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus and his injuries have not helped his cause either.

Experience is likely to tip the scales in Conradie’s favour when Province coach Allister Coetzee ponders his matchday 22 group.

Dewaldt Duvenage should make the run on XV while Conrad Hoffmann, who was the back-up scrumhalf against the Bulls, will possibly make way for Conradie on the substitutes’ bench.

The only injury concern is at fullback where Joe Pietersen is still not over the injury he picked up against the Sharks a fortnight ago. Province are keen for him to return and, if he does, Gio Aplon is set to warm the bench.

Coetzee is unlikely to tamper much with the side for this week’s clash against Free State, who in recent years have held the upper hand at Newlands.

Prop Brian Mujati, flank Duane Vermeulen and lock Adriaan Fondse are all still on the injury list although all of them are about 10 days away from making their 2009 appearance on the Currie Cup  landscape.

Much of this week’s training at Province will be spent on ironing out the handling lapses which foiled Province’s victory bid at the Bullring last weekend.

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