Cape Town - Whether or not Gary van Aswegen is ready to start after picking up game-time at club level in recent weeks may be the big debating point in the Western Province team selection for Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup showdown with the Blue Bulls.
According to the SuperSport website, The team is to be finalized on Wednesday, and Coetzee has hinted that if it doesn’t happen this week, it is only a matter of time before Van Aswegen takes over from Demetri Catrakilis, who played for WP in the win over Griquas in Kimberley and the loss to the Lions in Johannesburg.
It’s not so much a case of whether or not Coetzee rates Catrakilis or not, but the relevance of playing him ahead of a player who will be part of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign next year. It was recently confirmed that Catrakilis will be linking up with the Southern Kings from November.
“That is a very good question and you are right about that,” said Coetzee when asked if there was a point to playing Catrakilis when the Currie Cup is being used to develop depth for next year’s Super Rugby campaign.
“But the thing is it is still important for us to try and win, and so it depends on how ready Gary and Kurt Coleman are. If they are ready to slot in then there is no question that in terms of building for next year, it makes sense for them to be getting game time.”
Last year Coetzee faced a similar dilemma when he started the domestic season knowing that both centre Johan Sadie and wing JJ Engelbrecht had already signed for the Bulls. As it turned out, Sadie played only a bit part in the campaign, while Engelbrecht played almost every game and ended up as WP’s Currie Cup player of the season.
“It is a difficult one,” conceded Coetzee. “As far as possible we want to use the Currie Cup to increase our depth and get ready for the next Super Rugby season so it doesn’t really make sense to play players who aren’t going to be part of that. It just depends though on what is available.”
Coetzee said that Van Aswegen had picked up the necessary game time with Maties and was back in the selection mix, but would not confirm whether or not he would be starting against the Bulls. The young pivot, one of the stars of the successful 2010 WP under-21 team that was coached by John Dobson and Rassie Erasmus, has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons which have prevented him from getting in the apprenticeship at first class level that Coetzee was hoping he would.