Coach Coetzee backs Cronje
08/09/2010
Vodacom Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has full confidence in the ability of young flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to do the job for the team when they tackle the Leopards on Saturday in a Currie Cup match
Vodacom Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has full confidence in the ability of young flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to do the job for the team when they tackle the Leopards on Saturday at Newlands in an Absa Currie Cup match.

The coach named his side for the game on Wednesday, opting for Cronje at flyhalf in place of the experienced Willem de Waal and moving Conrad Jantjes to right wing to make space for the exciting Conrad Hoffmann at fullback.

Springboks Gio Aplon (left wing) and Juan de Jongh and Jean de Villiers have also been included in what looks like a potent backline.

Coetzee said circumstances forced his hand in the selection of the team. "It is very simple. We are sitting with two wingers who are injured in Fabian Juries, who started running today, and Frikkie Welsh, who sustained a neck injury last weekend.

"Gio Aplon is an experienced winger and also Conrad Jantjes, who played at 14 before. We used Conrad Hoffmann off the bench previously to cover 15 for us, so its quite simple."

The coach said he was very excited to have the Springboks back. "They really brought some enthusiasm to the team this week. It's good having them back, obviously.

"We always looked at blooding youngsters, giving youngsters an opportunity. That is why you see Lionel Cronjé back in at 10. It is a planned move, that's why we sent him back to the under-21s to get some game time.

"Knowing that we have our Boks back Lionel can start with a bit of experience around him and make sure he gets a decent chance to start at 10. Every one here wanted to see Lionel play.

"The policy always has been to blood youngsters at home and at least he's got some experience around him this time around."

Coetzee said he doesn't foresee any problems with the former SA Schools pivot slotting in at flyhalf after playing at fullback for the youngsters last weekend.

"The reason is simple, we wanted Lionel to get game time. He's been having 5 min off the bench here and 10 min off the bench there. It (fullback) is a position where decisions still has to be made.

"His kicking game would have been tested; his catching and passing would have been tested. He's been training with us since the beginning of the year and starting at 10 should not be a big change for Lionel.

"He's been training with us since the beginning of the year, I know he's hungry to play and he's looking forward to the opportunity."

Coetzee said there was no doubt in his mind that Cronje has what it takes to deliver the goods at Currie Cup level. "I got no doubt. He's played at under 21 national level before and had game time (at Currie Cup level) before.

"One week you ask for Lionel to be in the side and when I give him the opportunity you doubt his ability. I have no doubt in my flyhalf's ability. With the experience around him hopefully he can do well this weekend.

"I think its important for us at WP to know who would be Willem de Waal's, who has been playing very, very well, successor - from our young players who would take over from him.

"There is also Gary van Aswegen, who has also been playing well, but Lionel gets his chance and we all hope that Lionel will have a good game."



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