Five changes to WP for Pumas
Nelspruit - Western Province will go to Nelspruit for their Absa Currie Cup match against the Pumas on Friday night with a side that features five changes from the one that beat the Leopards 59-17 at Newlands last week.
One of those changes is a positional switch, with Conrad Jantjes moving back to fullback in place of Conrad Hoffmann, who drops back to a bench which has reverted to a four/three split between forwards and backs.
The other changes to the backline see under-21 star JJ Engelbrecht, who was in impressive form in an age-group match last week, come into Jantjes’ place on the right wing, while Willem de Waal returns at flyhalf for the injured Lionel Cronje.
Wicus Blaauw, who carried the ball impressively as a replacement against the Leopards, comes in at loosehead prop for JD Moller, while Pieter Louw returns to the flank in place of Nick Koster. This selection necessitates a minor change of position in the loose-forwards, with Francois Louw now down to wear the No7 jersey that Koster wore last week.
Pieter Louw was in impressive form before he was injured against the Sharks, so while it might seem unlucky for Koster to drop out, the selection does make sense. The last time this group played together they dominated Griquas on the way to a massive victory. In any event, Koster is still in the squad, and will play from the bench.
It is interesting to note that at this time that coach Allister Coetzee seems to have been caught in the middle of a distasteful bout of sabre rattling from officials running for election to the Western Province presidency later this year – Coetzee was accused of having no plan for the youth – the team for Nelspruit once again features several young players.
Apart from Englelbrecht and Koster, both of whom are still under-21, Gary van Aswegan, the WP under-21 flyhalf, has been included on the bench. Although already a Springbok, Juan de Jongh is also scarcely out of the age-group levels, and hooker Deon Fourie, reserve prop JC Kritzinger and scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage are also hardly old men.
Western Province team:
Conrad Jantjes, JJ Engelbrecht, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Gio Aplon, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Anton van Zyl (captain), Adriaan Fondse, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: Hanyani Shimange, JC Kritzinger, De Kock Steenkamp, Nick Koster, Conrad Hoffmann, Gary van Aswegan, Paul Bosch.