Province pin their hopes on Duvenage for Lions

Western Province are pinning their hopes on scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage being fit for the team’s Currie Cup rugby match against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Province coach Allister Coetzee said on Wednesday he was giving Duvenage as much time as possible to recover from his ankle injury in an effort to field him on Saturday.

“Dewaldt is just important to this team’s cause and I’m prepared to wait as long as possible to see if he can make it on to the field,” said Coetzee.

“It means that he won’t be doing any training this week, but that’s the position I’ve taken in the hope that he’ll be okay.

“And even if he’s still not 100 percent fit on Saturday, I’m prepared to take a gamble by playing him.

“I have Nick Groom training with the team, so if Dewaldt can’t play he’ll be ready to play.

“He’s such a vital player that I’m prepared to wait until the last minute before making a decision.”

Berton Klaason has been preferred to specialist centre Johann Sadie.

“I decided to go with Berton because he’s done so well in Sadie’s absence,” said Coetzee.

He has opted for a 5-2 split on the bench, meaning he’ll have five forwards to call on to make an impact later in the match.

“When you’re playing on the Highveld, one needs an impact from the bench and that’s why we settled on the 5-2 split, rather than the 4-3,” he said.

“We are not going to be conservative in our approach and the game plan we’re adopting has been paying dividends.

“The players we have on the bench all bring energy to the side and that’s what we are banking on.”

Sadie will be joined by Groom or Louis Schreuder as scrumhalf cover on the bench.

If Province lose their fullback during the match, centre Marcel Brache will be moved to 15, and in the event of a flyhalf injury, Jantjes will take over in the pivot position.

“I decided to go without Lionel (Cronje) this week because he didn’t impress against the Sharks last week, and since we have five forwards on the bench, there wasn’t place for him,” said Coetzee.

“The 5-2 split also meant that (flyhalf) Isma-eel Dollie lost out on a possible place on the bench.”

Western Province team:

Conrad Jantjes, Danie Poolman, Berton Klaasen, Marcel Brache, JJ Engelbrecht, Demetri Catrakilis, Dewaldt Duvenage/Nic Groom, Nick Koster, Siya Kolisi, Nick Fenton-Wells, De Kock Steenkamp, Adriaan Fondse, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg (captain), JC Kritzinger.

Replacements: Deon Fourie, Frans Malherbe, Hilton Lobberts, Nizaam Carr, Pieter Louw, Nic Groom/Louis Schreuder, Johann Sadie.

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