Young W.Province Currie Cup side to face Lions

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says that he has confidence in his young players to step up to the mark when they take on the Lions in Johannesburg on Friday a Currie Cup match.

Province will have to do without some of their Springbok stars and then to make matters worse the the injury curse has struck and the squad is depleted by injuries.

Coetzee, however, prefers to be optimistic about the changes he was forced to make to the side.

“If you’re sitting with 8 to 10 Boks out of the mix and your actual squad has been depleted by injuries, then it’s becoming a bit of a worry. But we back the young players like Callie Visagie, and Deon Fourie gets an opportunity to start for us this week.”

JD Moller is also back in the starting XV at prop in place of Wicus Blaauw, who reverts to the bench. Coetzee explained the swop: “Wicus has picked up a few niggles, and then you come back for a week and you sit out for a week, but I think it’s more a tactical substitution.”

The former Springbok assistant coach said he was not worried that there would be a problem at scrum time for his side. “Mark Lawrence is one of the best scrum refs.

“There’s always an argument both ways… there’s always a lot of speculation there. (Forwards coach) Matt (Proudfoot) has looked at it and hopefully we’ve learnt from our mistakes.” he said on the Province website.

Coetzee also opted to leave the promising young flyhalf Lionel Cronje out of the match day squad and instead went for Conrad Hoffmann as flyhalf cover. “Instead of Lionel having to play 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there, it’s a good time to give him an 80 minute run with the Under-21s to make sure that he stays match fit.”

He also opted for a 5-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench. “They’re a side that’s strong at set piece time. They ask questions at scrum time and they’re a physical team.

“We had a good look at how we played so well when we played them at Newlands, and going to a 5-2 split will help us to keep up the physical intensity for 80 minutes.”

The Western Province team is as follows:

15. Conrad Jantjes,14. JJ Engelbrecht,13. Tim Whitehead,12. Paul Bosch,11. Frikkie Welsh,10. Willem de Waal,9. Dewaldt Duvenage,8. Duane Vermeulen,7. Nick Koster,6. Francois Louw,5. Anton van Zyl (Captain),4. Adriaan Fondse,3. Brok Harris,2. Deon Fourie,1. JD Moller

Reserves:16. Callie Visagie,17. Wicus Blaauw,18. Buhle Mxunyelwa,19. De Kock Steenkamp,20. Pieter Myburgh,21. Conrad Hoffmann,22. Marcel Brache

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