Strongest side to tackle Griquas
Vodacom Western Province will be tackling Griquas on Friday at Newlands in their Absa Currie Cup match with their strongest available side.
Vodacom Western Province will be tackling Griquas on Friday at Newlands in their Absa Currie Cup match with their strongest available side.

Coach Allister Coetzee gave that assurance at training on Monday, despite the fact that locks Anton van Zyl and Adriaan Fondse did not take part in the training session.

"They are two guys who played the whole campaign, and like we did with Brokkie and Duane, we're just managing Anton van Zyl and Adriaan Fondse. It's definitely a tough couple of weeks that we're heading for, going into the last round robin games.

"It's important that we make sure we get a fresh side, that can play with that physical intensity for 80 minutes, on the pitch every weekend at this point in the campaign, and especially the tight forwards who have gone through a lot of work throughout this campaign."

The coach said at this stage of the competition he would prefer to send his strongest available side on the field, so resting some stalwarts is no option. "Definitely, the best possible side will be selected this weekend," he responded to a question.

"De Kock Steenkamp has done well when he's played and he is a similar lock to Fondsie, so we won't be losing a lot if there's a straight swap between the two, but at this point we're undecided about that."

The coach said he was happy with the performance of Wicus Blaauw in the big victory over the Pumas the past weekend. "He's been playing well off the bench, but the type of player he is he needs a full 80 minutes.

"He has had a bit of a slump in form after a few niggles this season, but last week you could see he was out there to prove a point and he showed that he could do it for 80 minutes.

"As a loosehead you have to be as physical and robust on attack as he has been, and he set a helluva standard this weekend. Consistency is always key. He's got to do that week in and week out and that will lead to him becoming a top quality loosehead.

"But that comes with confidence, and after those three games he took a knock to his confidence, and Wicus is one of those players who has played with a lot of confidence - it showed in his ball carries and his scrummaging last week."

The coach proclaimed his satisfaction with the performance against the Pumas. "Over the weekend, the balance that we had between overpowering them and our backs striking was quite good.

"Having gone over the video in the review today, it was at times a very clinical and very accurate performance. We played with a helluva lot of pace.

"When you combine power with pace it's difficult to stop and that to me is key about the Province side to maintain that. That we use the power when it's needed and to use the pace and skill of the backs to give the forwards a break, and then you want them to complement and dovetail."

Former WP coach Dawie Snyman was at the training session on Monday and Coetzee said he was there to help hone the sidestepping skills of the youngsters.

On the injury front, Coetzee reported that flyhalf Lionel Cronje would definitely not be ready yet. "His hammy is about 80 percent strong, so another week will probably get him to 100 percent. When under stress, he feels it still.

"(Hooker) Deon Fourie should be fine. He had a bit of a knock, but it's something that's there and he'll be able to play another season with it - it might affect him two seasons later, it's not a major thing."

First-choice hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is still struggling to recover though and the news about him was not good at all. "I doubt whether he will be ready by the time the final is played. He's out for the campaign. He tore ligaments in his ankle."

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