Muscle Mvovo vs Agile Aplon
Cape Town – Gio Aplon’s fleetness of foot will be measured against the brute strength of Lwazi Mvovo in a terrific wing battle in Saturday’s Currie Cup final in the Absa Stadium in Durban.
Mvovo (24) was rewarded for his excellent form this season with inclusion in the preliminary Springbok training squad, with Aplon. The Sharks flyer’s 12 tries in this year’s Currie Cup is second only to the 21 of Bjorn Basson.
Aplon scored 9 tries, but did not play as many games as Mvovo due to international commitments.
“Mvovo is an excellent player. His inclusion in the Bok squad is proof of his quality and shows what he’s capable of. It’s going to be a tough match. He’s in form and it’s in their back yard,” Aplon said of Saturday’s final.
Mvovo’s deceptive pace and strength is a threat to WP. With JP Pietersen injured, the Sharks are set to pick Odwa Ndungane on the other wing, which shows the depth at their disposal.
Even so, if WP coach Allister Coetzee took stock, he would have no reason to be jealous.
Aplon is among the nominees for South Africa’s rugby player of the year award, while Bryan Habana was the International Rugby Board’s player of the year in 2007.
Aplon’s x-factor is often decisive for WP in crucial matches, while the last two games also suggests that Habana’s form is improving.
Talented under-21 players like JJ Engelbrecht and Danie Poolman are knocking on the door.
“Bryan makes a big difference with his experience and energy, but don’t forget about JJ and the other guys,” said Aplon.
Conrad Jantjes is finding the form that made him one of South Africa’s best fullbacks prior to last year’s horror leg-break.
“Conrad is now showing what he’s capable of. He has shown that he is world class,” said Aplon.
It is Aplon’s second final this year, the other being the disappointing defeat in Soweto.
“You have to learn and gain wisdom from disappointment,” he said.
“It’s difficult to think that you put in 14 or 15 hard weeks and then everything is all over in 80 minutes. The important thing is to learn from the experience. It was a difficult road to the final. We want to put everything into it and hopefully the result goes our way this time.”