Cape Town - Western Province’s Currie Cup chances will be boosted by the fact that they will take most of their Super Rugby backline into this year’s competition.
With Springbok captain Jean de Villiers having missed the Super Rugby season through injury, Damian de Allende is the only member of the South African conference champions' backline to have earned a Springbok call-up.
That leaves scrumhalves Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder, Demetri Catrakilis, Juan de Jongh, Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk, Dillyn Leyds, Huw Jones, Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla all available for the Currie Cup.
The pack of forwards, meanwhile, will be largely green.
“In our group now from the Stormers you’ve taken out nine international forwards,” coach John Dobson confirmed.
“Scarra Ntubeni, Steven (Kitschoff), Frans (Malherbe), Manuel (Carizza) is going to Argentina now to play in the Rugby Championship, Eben (Etzebeth), Siya (Kolisi), Schalk (Burger), Duane (Vermeulen) and Michael Rhodes is going to Saracens,” Dobson confirmed.
“It’s a very young, new pack, essentially a Vodacom (Cup) pack.
“But the only back we’ve lost really is Damian (De Allende) because Jean (de Villiers) was injured. So it’s Super Rugby backs without Damian and a brand new pack.
“It’s a young group that we need to develop in Currie Cup and it’s important for us as coaches to have lots of interaction with them.”
Dobson confirmed that winning the Currie Cup was obviously the plan, but that one eye would remain on preparing a young group of players for Super Rugby next year.
“We can’t taper in the Currie Cup. I think what happened last year was we had a tough Super Rugby campaign and the Currie Cup, to some, redeemed Western Province rugby,” said Dobson.
“The Sharks have made nine signings, seven of which are here for Currie Cup, and the Bulls are talking about changing... they’re looking at it as their redemption.
“What I’m going to try and do with our Currie Cup is develop a young group that comes through that can go to Super Rugby next year... it’s not our redemption, we had a good Super Rugby.
“I want to try and win the Currie Cup but I want a lot of players to come through and that means a hands-on approach.”
WP will open their Currie Cup campaign on August 7, with Griquas away likely to be their first fixture.