Currie Cup

WP ditch rotation policy

2014-09-24 08:16
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Western Province have ditched their squad rotation policy in favour of selecting the best available team as the Currie Cup competition nears the business end of the season.

As a result, coach Allister Coetzee says team changes will be kept to a bare minimum over the remaining rounds in an effort to help combinations build momentum.

Tighthead prop Pat Cilliers has replaced Brok Harris in the run-on XV to face the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.

Cilliers is the lone change to the Province side that thrashed Griquas at Newlands last week.

"The time has come for good rhythm in the build-up to the end of the season," Coetzee said at Tuesday's team announcement in Bellville.

"It is right for Pat to start now and time for Brok to make an impact off the bench, so we've swopped the two of them this week. It is important to note that all our props have had a similar amount of game time in recent weeks."

Oliver Kebble, the tighthead prop who came as a substitute last week, has been dropped from Friday's match-day squad because Province have returned to the conventional 4-3 split on the reserves' bench.

The versatile Harris is a good reserve option because he can pack down on either side of the scrum.

Scrumhalf Nic Groom has regained fitness and replaces Godlen Masimla on the bench.

"Groom did very well for us before his injury but we need to play him off the bench for now. The less changes we make, the better," Coetzee said.

Loose forward Nizaam Carr was back in training at Bellville on Tuesday, after spending a day in the Springbok camp. He and fellow Province teammate Seabelo Senatla were invited to join the Boks, who are in town to take on Australia in the Rugby Championship on Saturday, in order to familiarise themselves with the national team set-up.

Coetzee reported that Senatla was yet to regain fitness but he has joined the Springbok Sevens squad, who are preparing for the World Series event at Australia's Gold Coast on October 11 and 12.

"When Senatla returns from Australia he'll rejoin us and by that time we'll be preparing for the play-off rounds."

The Mbombela Stadium, in Nelspruit, has become a fortress for coach Jimmy Stonehouse's Pumas, and they have yet to lose a Currie Cup match there this season.

"This is team that has been together since the Vodacom Cup season and their players are street-wise.

"Because the match is on a Friday, there is one day less to prepare, and that in itself is another challenge. This is a team that has good set-pieces, and their line-out has provided a valuable attacking platform."

Province skipper Juan de Jongh said any side that does not pitch up in Nelspruit with the right frame of mind will be punished.

"You need to be up to your best otherwise you'll get hurt in Nelspruit. They've had excellent results at home this season and they trade heavily on physicality," De Jongh said.

Read more on:    pumas  |  wp  |  currie cup  |  pat cilliers  |  cape town  |  rugby

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