Venter: De Jongh for impact
Cape Town – Pick Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie as the centre pairing, and use Juan de Jongh as an impact player in the last 30 minutes.
That is the advice from former Springbok centre Brendan Venter to Western Province coach Allister Coetzee ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup match against the Sharks at Newlands.
Venter currently coaches English Premiership side Saracens. He is well-known for his technical knowledge and creative thinking about rugby.
Sport24 approached Venter for an opinion about what Coetzee should do now that he has three Springbok centres – De Villiers, De Jongh and Fourie – available.
“I’d pick Jean at inside centre and Jaque at outside centre, and then send Juan on in Jaque’s place with 30 minute to go,” said Venter.
“You have less space early in the game and will be better off with experienced players. Juan looks exciting every time I see him. I believe you will get more out of him in the last 30 minutes. The other guys will then be able to give it their all for 50 minutes.”
Venter is not enthusiastic about the prospect of Fourie playing fullback.
“Conrad Jantjes was very good under the high ball in the first 25 minutes on Saturday. Jaque has also not played fullback for a long time. You may just get yourself in trouble if you play him there now,” he said.
Coetzee will be making an unpopular decision should he follow Venter’s advice. However, Venter believes De Jongh will play a major role if he plays for the last 30 minutes.
“You can tell Juan that he will play for 30 minutes. There is not a major difference between 50 and 30 minutes. He will therefore be more than just a substitute.
“He can train at inside and outside centre for the entire week, so that he can replace either Jean or Jaque.”
Coetzee told Sport24 on Monday that he was still thinking about the issue, but would like to have all three players.
“It will be difficult to digest one of them being on the bench. You’d like them on the field. In general play there is no number on your back,” he said.
“All three players have shown that they are outstanding with the ball in hand.”
A thorough analysis of the Sharks will be an important determining factor in Coetzee’s decision.
The Sharks, for example, have a strong left wing in Lwazi Mvovo, which could make it a good idea for WP to use Fourie at right wing.
Bryan Habana is also available again and should make his WP debut in the No 11 jersey.
Should one of the centres play wing, Coetzee will have to make a call between Jantjes and Gio Aplon at fullback.
Schalk Burger will probably replace Pieter Louw on the flank as well as captain the side.