Duvenage a doubtful starter for Province vs Lions

Western Province matchwinner Dewaldt Duvenage is a doubtful starter for the side’s Currie Cup rugby clash against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The scrumhalf scored a late, opportunist try against the Sharks in Durban over the weekend to enable his team to clinch a surprise 15-10 victory.

However, in the process of gathering the stray ball after Sharks substitute flyhalf Freddie Michalak had a kick charged down, Duvenage turned over his ankle en route to the tryline.

As a result, Duvenage, who had moved into the flyhalf berth at the expense of Lionel Cronje, could not take the conversion.

Instead, the place-kicking duties were handed to substitute scrumhalf Louis Schreuder. Duvenage battled on gamely to help his side to a morale-boosting win.

“It says a lot about the character and guts of Dewaldt that he carried on with an injury, ” said coach Allister Coetzee on Monday.

“But that’s what this team is about, they’re all fight and that’s what won the day. We’ve now had a chance to review the game and we saw that given the opportunities we created, we left some tries out there on the field. “

The injury bogey hit Province hard against the Sharks when fullback Heinrich Steyl was stretchered off the field midway through the first half, and was replaced by Conrad Jantjes.

“It was a terrible injury and a scan showed that Heinrich had broken his leg in two places, much the same way Conrad Jantjes did last year, ” Coetzee said.

“I really feel for him because it was his first match in the starting team, and he’ll be out of the game for at least nine months.

“Jantjes also came back [from Durban] with an injury and the doctor is not sure whether he’ll be okay to play against the Lions. There are a few players who will have to be managed [rested] this week if we want to select them for the match. “

Coetzee said his makeshift team managed to cut down on the error rate and did not stray from the match plan.

“We pulled off a great win against a Sharks side that included some quality players, ” said Coetzee.

He said the team’s game plan would be changed a great deal for the Lions’ match.

“We won’t have the same players available, as much as we would like and that changes the way we will play.

“The next step is to work on a plan that the available players will be comfortable with.

“Our concern won’t be what the Lions are capable of, but we know that as the Currie Cup log-leaders they are a very good side, and a very fit side considering they have lots of strike late in a match.

“The Lions have a side that have played together for two seasons and they’re not affected by Springbok call-ups the way we are. They have shown the benefits of continuity in selection and are now a formidable team, ” Coetzee said.

“Province, on the other hand, have already used just over 40 players in the Currie Cup competition so we don’t have continuity and it’s been very difficult to produce consistent performances. “

Injury returnees scrumhalf Nick Groom, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, eighth-man Nick Koster and lock Hilton Lobberts started training on Monday and will be considered for selection, although their match fitness will be in question.

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