Currie Cup selection dilemma for Coetzee and WP

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says that he will have a few difficult selection decisions this week for their Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Tiaan Liebenberg has been ruled out of the match but Coetzee will have Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, Ruan Botha, Rynhardt Elstadt, Kurt Coleman and Jaco Taute all available for selection.

“It will a bit of a selection headache but we will be looking for continuity because it is massively important,” said Coetzee.

Despite picking up knocks, the likes of Demetri Catrakilis (sore hip), Pat Cilliers (stiffness) and Kobus van Wyk (knock to the head), were still up for selection.

“There will be a few difficult decisions to make this week because we have a healthy competition for places in the squad. We need to be sure that the players coming back are well prepared for action.”

Coetzee said the back injury Liebenberg picked up in the 35-16 win over EP Kings last week, was more serious than initially anticipated.

“Tiaan has not responded to treatment and we fear he’s suffered more than a muscle spasm. He won’t be playing this week and it is a blow for us.”

Liebenberg’s absence coincided with the return of Ntubeni, who overcame a foot injury.

He was likely to be named on the bench while Stephan Coetzee, who substituted Liebenberg in the last match, was earmarked to start.

Taute, who was on compassionate leave last week, could be played at centre although featuring mostly at fullback since joining WP from the Lions just over a year ago.

“We are a bit thin at centre and Jaco has played for the Boks in midfield,” said Coetzee.

“We’ll keep Juan de Jongh at 13 so we’ll consider Jaco for the number 12 slot. We were very happy the way Michael van der Spuy and Pat Howard played there last week but Jaco has been in good form towards the end of the Super Rugby season.”

WP picked up three yellow cards last Friday, which meant that for 30 minutes, the side played with one player short.

Coetzee felt that the cards did not necessarily point to a lack of discipline.

“We saw that referees will be far stricter than in the past. We can’t condone players’ wrong doings and it’s something that we want to avoid in future.”

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