WP: Vermeulen looking good
Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Western Province will be buoyed by the return of eighthman Duane Vermeulen to the team for Saturday's Currie Cup match against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Vermeulen, who has been on the fringe of Springbok selection for the past two years, is one of several Province loose forwards who has had a long injury layoff.
Coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday that Vermeulen would return to match action on Saturday.
"He'll play. Duane had a double training session today (Monday) and he's looking good," said Coetzee, who added that hopes were fading for Rynhardt Elstadt to join Vermeulen on the trip to Kimberley.
"We had hoped that Rynhardt would be available for selection, but at this stage it doesn't look like it will happen. He looks more likely to return for the Golden Lions game in two weeks' time. He'll be thoroughly assessed next Monday again."
Elstadt's omission means that WP's lock resources are still thin and he was thinking that eighthman Jebb Sinclair is a second row option.
"There's not much in reserve at lock although Don Armand and De Kock Steenkamp will be available," said Coetzee. "Hilton Lobberts is still injured, Quin Roux has gone overseas and I'll give thought to using Sinclair because he played there for Canada in internationals."
Province are also faced with a flyhalf selection poser following the injury to Burton Francis.
"Burton has a badly bruised knee and I'll have to weigh up the No 10 options," said Coetzee. "We've got Kurt (Coleman), Demetri (Catrakilis) and Gary van Aswegen."
Fullback Joe Petersen is out with a wrist injury and Gio Aplon will wear the No 15 jumper in his absence. "Gio is our second choice fullback and now I'll have to make a call on who will replace him on the wing.
"The long Super Rugby season has taken a toll on our reserve stock and I've just about cleaned out the ranks of the Under-21s.
"I've done a fair amount of scouting at club level but it's not easy to ask these players to play professionally. It's a different level all together."