Western Province lose Taute in Currie Cup

Inside centre Jaco Taute is the only casualty from Western Province’s last-gasp Currie Cup victory over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein over the weekend.

Taute is nursing a rib injury, similar to that sustained recently by Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen.

Province coach Allister Coetzee said Taute took a severe knock to the ribs and he would not be considered for selection for their final Currie Cup round-robin match against the Sharks at Newlands.

“On the injury front, things are looking much better than has been the case all season,” Coetzee said on Monday.

“Jaco has a rib injury and it’s always a sensitive one because the muscles have been damaged.

“The injury is similar to Duane’s but Jaco looks like he’ll be ready to play in next week’s semi-final at Newlands.”

Coetzee explained the squad has switched on to a “semi-final” mentality even though there was still one regular season fixture remaining.

After their weekend win, Province have moved eight points clear at the top of the table and will end the regular season at the top of the log.

The outcome of Saturday’s match against the Sharks will have no bearing on Province’s log position.

“Mentally we are already in a semi-final space and we’ve earned the right to be there after the weekend’s win,” he said.

“Everything we do from this point onwards is geared towards the semi-final, and that includes our thinking about team selection.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act because some players can do with a rest but we don’t want this team to lose its (winning) momentum.”

The extra players at Monday’s training which involved an expanded squad would give depth to their player reserves for the play-off matches.

Coetzee said his side’s log position would not detract from the rivalry between the two sides and he expected a tough battle against a resurgent Sharks team.

“The Sharks are improving with every outing and they are starting to fire as the season reaches its climax,” Coetzee said.

“When we see how they have been playing, one can see their belief is back.

“They have had their opponents under pressure at the breakdowns and with Lwazi Mvovo returning to their backline, they have added strike power.”

Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg on Monday joined in at training after a long injury-enforced lay-off and could feature in Saturday’s clash.

Lock Jean Kleyn and fullback Cheslin Kolbe were both watching from the sidelines on Monday.

Province, however, was still holding out slender hopes of the duo making a dramatic recovery in time for the play-offs.

Next week, Springbok Sevens stars Justin Geduld and Seabelo Senatla will rejoin Province after doing duty at the Gold Coast Sevens.

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