Louw to return to Province Currie Cup team

Francois Louw will return to the Western Province Currie Cup side for Saturday’s clash against Griquas in Kimberley.

The Springbok flanker was rested last week after the national side returned from a disastrous Tri-Nations campaign in Australasia.

Louw’s return will help to lift the side in Kimberley where Province surprisingly suffered back-to-back Currie Cup defeats in 2008 and 2009.

Despite their commendable unbeaten streak of four wins from as many matches, Province will be wary of the threat posed by Griquas who have already bagged the scalps of the Sharks and Lions earlier on this season.

Louw started training with the Province squad in Bellville on Tuesday and his presence will add further lustre to a pack that has held its own this year and which continues to grow in stature.

“Flo (Francois Louw) had a good Super14 and he was rewarded by making the Springbok team and this (Saturday’s match) will be another opportunity for him to prove he should be playing at a higher level,” said Province coach Allister Coetzee.

“I’m looking forward to the combination of him, Pieter Louw and Duane Vermeulen this weekend.”

As a result of the demands of Springboks, Province’s backline resources were depleted and the pack was given the task of shouldering the brunt of keeping the team’s championship hopes alive.

Apart from Louw, hooker Deon Fourie will also return from a break although he’s likely to start off the bench.

Fourie is a stand-out performaner as an impact player when he joins the fray, usually in the second half. First-choice hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is having a fine season and has been one of the cornerstones of the pack that has dominated in the set-pieces.

Province’s backline was already boosted last week when Springboks Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh made their 2010 Currie Cup debuts and this week they’ll be in an even better space after enjoying the extra week to acquaint themselves with the team’s playing patterns.

In the past returning Boks usually need a week or two to find their feet again at domestic level.

“If one looks at how Gio (Aplon) and Juan (De Jongh) settled in nicely in the space of a of game I’m expecting the same from Flo and he’s looking forward to playing,” said Coetzee.

“The guys are enjoying playing for Province. When the Boks come back they really are looking forward to getting in the mix and we’ve got a great group of players here.”

Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenhage is back to full health and should force his way into the starting XV at the expense of the highly promising Colin Hoffmann.

Duvenhage’s return should help to arm Province with their strongest combinations which is what the Newlands team will need if they wish to turn around their fortunes in the Northern Cape capital.

“They (Griquas) should really be respected as one of the top five provinces (in South Africa),” said Coetzee.

“They’re a good team, very well coached and for them it’s about winning all their home games.

“We came unstuck there in 2008 and 2009 but our intention is to focus and executing our plan.”

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