Province have gas to burn out wide

The selection of Tonderai Chavhanga and Juan de Jongh has added a generous measure of speed and stern defence to the Western Province backline, which will be looking to turn in a vastly improved performance against Free State at Newlands on Friday evening.

Chavhanga is one of the fastest wings in the country and his pace is not only useful on attack but he can also be relied on to bolster the side’s cover defence.

Despite an authoritative display by the Province forwards at Loftus last week the backs failed to capitalise on hard-won possession, mainly as a result of handling errors and poor passing.

In the final analysis the errors cost Province dearly and the momentum, which the side had picked up in the Sharks game a fortnight ago was lost.

De Jongh, at outside centre, is a solid performer on defence and attack, and during his limited exposure over the past two weeks has already caught the eye of national coach Peter de Villiers.

He is certainly an exciting prospect and his emergence could in the long run offset the loss of Springbok centre who is heading for Ireland.

Sireli Naqelevuki should consider himself lucky to retain his place on the other wing berth as his lack of pace has on occasions denied Province the chance to breach the opposition defence out wide when opportunities presented itself.

However, he does seem to suck in one or two extra defenders when he sets off on his seemingly sluggish upfield runs.

The Province pack will be beefed up by the return of flanker Francois Louw who has yet to enjoy the benefit of playing behind a tight five that is capable of imposing itself on a match.

The Province second row partnership of Chris Jack and Anton van Zyl has really boosted the Province frontrow with the result that props Brok Harris and Wicus Blaauw are now counting among the leading scrummagers in the Currie Cup rugby competition.

Province have exciting options on the bench and the entry of Deon Fourie (hooker) and Conrad Hoffmann (scrumhalf) should provide the spark later in the clash.

The Western Province team:

Gio Aplon; Tonderai Chavhanga, Juan de Jongh, Peter Grant, Sireli Naqelevuki; Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage; Luke Watson (captain), Pieter Louw, Francois Louw, Anton van Zyl, Chris Jack, Brock Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg and Wicus Blaauw.

Reserves: Deon Fourie, JD Moller, Hilton Lobberts, Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffmann, Morgan Newman and Frikkie Welsh.

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