Province lose another of their matchwinners

Injuries affecting players for the rest of the Currie Cup season continue to plague Western Province.

 

In the latest development, former Cheetahs star Willem de Waal will undergo neck surgery which means the flyhalf will be out for some time.

De Waal has been among the most prolific points scorers in the Currie Cup for several seasons and has, on occasions, seen his team home almost single-handedly.


The De Waal misfortune follows hot on the heels of the twin blow which ruled out lock Adriaan Fondse and centre Morgan Newman just a few days ago. Fondse’s sidelining for the rest of the season harshly coincided with the departure of All Black strongman Chris Jack.


To add insult to injury, attempts by Province to retain Jack’s services as well as that of Munster-bound three-quarter Jean de Villiers have come to nought on both counts. And another top-flight lock Andries Bekker, whose Tri-Nations campaign was cut short, is still not ready to return to the fray.


His match fitness is about a fortnight or so off the pace. With the return of the all-conquering Springboks, Province were excited to welcome back workhorse Schalk Burger but he too is likely to be reduced to spectator over the next week or so as his rib injury is more serious that initially anticipated.


On the plus side, live wire hooker Tiaan Liebenberg will be returning to match action this week when Province are away to the Leopards in Potchefstroom.


One Springbok who will be thrust into Currie Cup action right away is scrumhalf Ricky Januarie who could feature in an all-new half-back combination with scrumhalf-turned-flyhalf Conrad Hoffmann.


For some time now, Province have been thinking of playing Hoffmann at No 10 instead of No 9, and coach Allister Coetzee has hinted that it will become a reality this week.


Lock Anton van Zyl and wing Tonderai Chavhanga sat out at training earlier this week after they picked up niggles in Bloemfontein last week but both are likely to be fit to face the Leopards.

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