Leopards to target WP props
Brok Harris and Wicus Blaauw (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – The Leopards’ loosehead prop is from Western Province and the WP tighthead prop from the Leopards.
That is a clear indication of the professional era being upon us, but both BG Uys and Brok Harris will have plenty to prove in Friday’s Currie Cup match between the teams at Olen Park in Potchefstroom.
Bennie Geldenhuys Uys matriculated at Paarl Gymnasium in 2006 and went to the Puk’s Rugby Institute after not making his school’s first team or being taken up in WP’s structures.
Even so, Leopards coach Leon Boshoff recent predicted that Uys would be South Africa’s leading loosehead prop come the World Cup in 2015.
Uys confirmed that he was licking his lips for a match against WP.
“Definitely,” he answered when asked whether he would be motivated by the prospect of a match against WP.
“I was overlooked at school level and want to show that they made a mistake.”
Harris was still in the Leopards’ under-21 set-up in 2005 and made his Currie Cup debut for WP in 2006.
He has been a stalwart for the past two seasons, though the Cape teams’ front rows struggled in their last two games at Newlands – the Stormers’ semi-final against the Crusaders and WP’s draw against Griquas.
Harris and Wicus Blaauw are under pressure to stamp down their authority again, but can expect a big onslaught from Uys and Co.
“Our tight five wants to make a habit of hurting opponents. We will definitely target WP up front. We want to do that with all our opponents,” said Uys.
The playing field is about as level as it can be for a match between the Leopards and WP.
The Leopards have home ground advantage, while the disruption in WP’s ranks is serious. It’s not just a matter of the Cape side having to make do without their Springboks, but there are also injuries to Gary van Aswegen (flyhalf), Duane Vermeulen (No 8) and Pieter Louw (flank).
On top of that tough-as-teak centre Paul Bosch has been released to join Montpellier in France and lock Anton van Zyl has left for Stade Francais. Last year those two were important players for WP in the early stages of the Currie Cup.
While the Leopards lost 12-40 to Free State in Bloemfontein last week, they had trailed 5-35 at half-time.
“We were asleep for 40 minutes. This time we want to do our best from the outset. We created a lot of opportunities when we started to keep the ball,” said Uys.
The Leopards aim to be particularly tough opponents on their home ground.
“Our goal is to finish sixth in this year’s Currie Cup. We’d like to make it difficult for teams to come to Potchefstroom. No team should come here thinking it will leave with five points.”
Uys’s old schoolfriends like Dewaldt Duvenage, Johann Sadie and Louis Schreuder can therefore consider themselves warned.