Leyds starts in Currie Cup for Western Province

Former Western Force utility player, Dillyn Leyds, will make his Currie Cup debut for Western Province on Saturday when they play the Free State Cheetahs in a Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein.

For the past year Leyds has been playing for Australian teams the Western Force and Perth Spirit in Australia’s domestic National Rugby Championship (NRC) competition.

He is, however Cape Town-born and has come through the Province age-groups and was a member of the South African Under-20 team that won the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012.

He arrived in the Mother City five days ago when injuries and Springbok Sevens call-ups had depleted Province’s backline reserves.

Coach Allister Coetzee said he had no hesitation in naming Leyds in this week’s starting line-up.

“I have to say that Dillyn has fitted seamlessly into the squad and it is like he’s never been away. He has matured as a person and does not sound like the Under-21 player that played for Province last season.

“In training he has responded well to (playing) calls and he has the core skills for a number 15.”

Leyds takes the place of Cheslin Kolbe, who was injured in last week’s match against the Pumas.

Kolbe has developed into a match-winner and ranks among the finds of the 2014 Currie Cup season.

Coetzee sees a similarity between the two players, but does not expect Leyds to emulate Kolbe.

“It is unfair to compare the two players because they both have strengths. Dillyn is a matured footballer and is capable of making good (rugby) decisions.

“His inclusion does not mean that we’ll change the way we have been playing because he’s also good from broken play. Tactically, Dillyn is also a good kicker.”

Leyds’ inclusion is one of five changes to the Province side which romped home against the Pumas in Nelspruit last week.

Winger Justin Geduld has joined the Sevens squad and Pat Howard will take his place.

At scrumhalf, Nic Groom takes over from Louis Schreuder.

“Two of the backline changes came about of circumstances but in replacing players we have looked to strike a great balance. We have gone for Pat because he’s played for us of late and that experience is vital at this stage of the season.

“It’s not Devon’s fault that he hasn’t had much chance to play at Currie Cup level but Pat is match sharp.”

The loss of both first-choice locks Ruan Botha and Jean Kleyn through injury has resulted in yet another new-look second-row pairing.

Argentina international, Manuel Carizza, will be partnered by Rynhardt Elstadt, who returns after serving suspension.

“I’ve taken the suspension on the chin and I’m keen to be back on the field again,” said Elstadt.

“It’s never easy to sit on the sidelines, especially at a time when the team is doing so well. Now that we’ve lost two locks it will be a challenge to hold our own in the set-pieces.”

Coetzee said this week’s team faced a very different challenge in Bloemfontein.

“This will be a desperate Cheetahs team and they will remember that they’ve defeated us at their home ground during the Super Rugby season.”

Western Province

Dillyn Leyds, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (captain), Jaco Taute, Pat Howard, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Manuel Carizza, Rynhardt Elstadt, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Alistair Vermaak.

Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Brok Harris, Oliver Kebble, Jurie van Vuuren, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Michael van der Spuy.

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