Vodacom WP coach backs Van Aswegen
15/09/2010
Vodacom Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says promising under-21 flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is a long-term prospect and it was important that they nurture him well.
Vodacom Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says promising under-21 flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is a long-term prospect and it was important that they nurture him well.

Van Aswegen was included on the substitutes' bench for WP's Absa Currie Cup match on Friday against the Pumas in Nelspruit. Veteran Willem de Waal returns to the starting XV in place of the injured Lionel Cronjé.

"We had a close look at Gary throughout this season. He's a good talent and a player for the future," commented Coetzee.

"He's the seventh under-21 player that we're using this year, so with a long term plan of building on our depth this year, and especially at flyhalf ... it's important that we nurture him.

"He's got all the core skills of a 10, and an extra arrow in his quiver is his defence. He likes the physical stuff. And with Lionel out it's important to have 10 cover on the bench. Lionel will be out hopefully for just one week."

The coach was satisfied that the changes to the backline would not be disruptive. "Last week I said we had a couple of wings injured and Conrad Jantjes was helping out there.

"Conrad Hoffman also deserves a start and he's a good enough player to play 80 minutes. JJ Engelbrecht was sent to the under-21s. He battled a bit with confidence, but I'd like to give him an opportunity because he's a good player and one for the future and with Gio (Aplon) and Connie it's a formidable back three."

The coach opted for a 5-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench, explaining it as follows: "I suppose a player like Frikkie Welsh gives you a bit of leeway not to pick an extra 13 on the bench.

"Obviously with his unavailability it makes it a bit difficult. For us, the way we want to play, with Jean (de Villiers) and Juan (de Jongh) back, it's got to be a more all-round type of game, not that forward-orientated.

"For this week we know it's going to be a big onslaught up front. JC Kritzinger is back who can cover both tight and loosehead, so we don't have to have an extra prop on the bench."

The coach added that Wicus Blaauw has made great impact the last couple of games coming off the bench.

He also welcomed the return to fitness of livewire flanker Pieter Louw. "To have Pieter back is fantastic. He had a phenomenal start to the season and he's a senior player in our team, so it's great to have him back and he's a phenomenal team man as well."



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