Coetzee: Time to step up
Cape Town - Western Province head coach Allister Coetzee
has announced his squad for the upcoming Currie Cup season.
Built around a core of players that helped the Stormers finish top of the Super Rugby joint log, Coetzee has also included players who were part of the victorious Vodacom Cup side earlier this year.
In the absence of Springboks Eben Etzebeth
, Andries Bekker
, Siya Kolisi, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh and Bryan Habana
, Super Rugby regulars Deon Fourie (who was announced as the WP captain for the season), Tiaan Liebenberg
, Brok Harris
, Rynhardt Elstadt, De Kock Steenkamp, Dewaldt Duvenage
, Gio Aplon and Joe Pietersen
will provide much-needed experience.
At the same time, however, Vodacom Cup winners Don Armand, Tyrone Holmes, Nic Groom, Marcel Brache and Ederies Arendse, along with WP Under-21 stars, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Wilhelm van der Sluys, JP du Plessis, Damian de Allende, Tshotsho Mbovane, Dean Hammond and Craig Barry, could get the chance to take a step up during the Currie Cup season.
Jebb Sinclair (No 8) and Burton Francis (flyhalf), who were part of the Stormers' squad this year, have had their stays in Cape Town extended and will both be key members in the blue and white hoops for the remainder of the 2012 season.
"Jebb (Sinclair) was part of our set-up during Super Rugby, but was unfortunately unable to play in the playoffs and Burton (Francis) was involved until the end," said Coetzee.
"However, both Jebb and Burton (Francis) will now be staying with us for the duration of the Currie Cup which is a plus.
"Our loose forward injuries have been well documented, so having Jebb around is a big boost, and if you look at flyhalf there is Burton Francis, Gary van Aswegen, Demetri Catrakilis and Kurt Coleman so we have four quality flyhalves at our disposal."
The WP boss was under no illusions ahead of the 2012 Currie Cup but he was relishing the prospect of getting stuck in - starting against the Sharks at Newlands this weekend - especially with some new faces in the selection mix.
"We are coming from a high intensity competition (Super Rugby) into the same kind of environment now," said Coetzee.
"I think it is a very good thing for youngsters to understand the intensity that they will be faced with if they want to play at a higher level.
"We are hoping to give opportunities to players who deserve to be there and keep working hard. Some of those players did well in the Vodacom Cup, so hopefully they can take the next step into the Currie Cup."
Loose forwards Duane Vermeulen
and Nick Koster are expected to return to action over the next few weeks, after picking up knee injuries during Super Rugby, whilst fullback Heinrich Steyl is back in training after suffering a serious leg injury during last year's Currie Cup.
Western Province's Currie Cup squad (38):Forwards (19):
Don ArmandDeon Carstens
Deon Fourie (Captain)
Yaya HartzenbergBrok Harris
JC KritzingerTiaan Liebenberg
De Kock Steenkamp
Wilhelm van der Sluys
Alistair VermaakDuane VermeulenBacks (19):
Damian de Allende
JP du PlessisDewaldt Duvenage
Tshotsho MbovaneJoe Pietersen
Gary van Aswegen
Gerhard van den HeeverUnavailable because of Springbok commitments:Andries BekkerEben Etzebeth
Juan de Jongh
Jean de VilliersBryan Habana
Siya KolisiUnavailable because of injury:Schalk Burger