No Taute for Western Province in Currie Cup Semi

The powerful centre-cum-fullback Jaco Taute has not recovered from a rib injury and was not considered for Western Province’s Currie Cup semi-final line-up to face the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

As result, the versatile utility back Michael van der Spuy will play at inside centre, alongside captain Juan de Jongh in the midfield.

Van der Spuy, along with flank Rynhardt Elstadt, were the only survivors from the starting team that suffered defeat at the hands of the Sharks at Newlands last week.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said the centre combination had proved itself earlier in the Currie Cup competition.

“Unfortunately, Jaco did not make it and one does not want to go into a game with a risk,” Coetzee said.

“We can’t go into a match with players that are half ready, and the player himself would not want to drop the team. He was not physically fit to play.

“I’m happy to have Michael playing there and he has played the first three (Currie Cup) games with Juan.”

There had been temptation to play Elstadt at lock because of numerous injuries to second-rowers in recent weeks.

However, with the dramatic recovery of lock Jean Kleyn, and the need to boost the power upfront, Rynhardt was named among the loose forwards and could give cover in the second row.

“When deciding on Rynhardt we knew a game against the Bulls will be a physical battle and then we also looked at the way we want to play,” Coetzee said.

“This is the best possible team that we can field in terms of what is coming our way on Saturday.

“We have Sikhumbuzo Notshe coming off the bench to give us impact.”

Coetzee said the Bulls traded heavily on driving mauls and Elstadt would be instrumental in countering the threat.

“We have to respect what opposition teams bring to the party and the Bulls have over the years pride themselves on mauls,” he said.

“Our work will be cut out to stop driving mauls and Rynhardt knows what it is to play like a No 4 lock.

“He plays towards the ball, and his job is also help secure quicker ball.”

A surprise inclusion on the bench was EW Viljoen as a utility back that was equally at home at fullback, wing or centre.

Coetzee fielded several questions about the matter of in-form Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard being included in the Bulls side.

“Pollard is a special player with a good rugby brain and our systems provides for that,” Coetzee said.

Western Province

Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (captain), Michael van der Spuy, Seabelo Senatla, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Rynhardt Elstadt, Manuel Carizza, Jean Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Alistair Vermaak.

Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Oli Kebble, Brok Harris, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder, EW Viljo

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