Liebenberg could return for Province in Currie Cup

Western Province’s scrumming could be given a big boost this weekend in the Currie Cup when Tiaan Liebenberg returns to action this weekend after a long injury lay-off.

There was nothing wrong with the performance of hooker Scarra Ntubeni in WP’s disappointing display against the Blue Bulls last weekend, but Liebenberg is a much more powerful scrummager.

His inclusion should add a fair amount of physicality to team’s tight five unit.

Liebenberg sustained a knee injury towards the end of the Super Rugby season.

“Tiaan will be up for selection this week and that steps up our leadership capacity in the pack,” assistant Robbie Fleck told reporters in Cape Town on Monday, after WP coach Allister Coetzee took ill after the weekend’s match.

“Our pack has been training flat-out for the past week and now he’s working hard on his match fitness. It is good to count on his experience now that we’re not happy with our scrum. “

“We were well prepared but the Bulls came with a plan that worked well for them.”

Wing Cheslin Kolbe took a knock to the knee and was forced off the field in the second half. Fleck said the injury was not as bad as initially anticipated and he would be in the selection frame this week.

Kolbe, along with centres Damian de Allende and Pat Howard, were impressive against the Bulls.

“For the young backline that we fielded, I felt we did well,” said Fleck.

“It was a pity that they did not see enough of the ball in the second half. When we dictated play in the first half the backs ran in two tries, and the moves were well executed. “

“As a midfield combination, Pat and Damian will be happy with their debut performance and now they just need to build on that.”

Kolbe sat out Monday’s training and was joined on the sidelines by flank Rynhardt Elstadt and flyhalf Gary van Aswegen.

Fleck said they were being rested to help recover from bruises and niggles.

The players would be available for Saturday’s clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands.

Fleck said that Monday’s team meeting had focused on the team’s attitude which he felt was in question after they allowed a 21-9 lead to disappear into a 24-all stalemate.

“Attitude is a given when you pull on a WP jersey, and I can say attitude won’t be a problem again,” said Fleck.

“We cannot replace attitude and the lack of it saw us drop off the pace later in the match.”

“When the Bulls came at us in the second half we couldn’t deal with it and we ended up making more tackles than we would have liked. It didn’t help either that we allowed the Bulls to enjoy set-piece dominance.”

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