Cape Town - The strongly built Pat Howard is set to replace speedster Seabelo Senatla on the DHL Western Province left wing for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands.
According to the supersport.com website, WP coach Allister Coetzee is still waiting on a final assessment on Senatla’s injured ankle as the doctors and specialists have to wait for the swelling to go down, but he confirmed that the Springbok Sevens star will definitely miss Friday’s game, and probably the following week as well.
“As clinically tested by our doctor, it seems likely that Seabelo will be out for a minimum of two weeks,” said Coetzee.
That is bad news for Province, for while they can probably get by without him in a home match against the Kings, it could be another story the following week, when they are due to travel to Johannesburg for the return clash with the Golden Lions.
Senatla, with his blistering pace and ability to swivel his hips so he can evade defenders, has been an integral part of the WP counter-attacking game that has taken them to the top of the log nearing the halfway point of the league phase of the season, and Coetzee conceded that he will be hard to replace.
“We have quite a number of options available, but we know it’s going to be very difficult to replace Seabelo because of his current form and what he brings to the team,” said the coach.
“We want to get as close to the same sort of player that suits the team, because that has been working well for us. Seabelo is just as good on defence as he is on attack, and his breakdown skills are really unbelievable. We have Pat Howard, who played on the wing last time we faced the Kings, and he did really well.”
In fact Howard scored the opening try of the WP Currie Cup season when he was on the field as a replacement in the first half of that Port Elizabeth fixture, going over off a set piece where he played off flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis. However, Howard may be better suited to centre than to wing, and another option, if he doesn’t come through, could be Devon Williams, who played a few game for the Stormers in Super Rugby.
Willie Ambaka, the Kenyan that such a fuss was made of when he was contracted to WP at the start of the domestic season, has apparently not been contracted now because he arrived with an ankle injury that hasn’t cleared up.
Meanwhile first choice hooker Scarra Ntubeni is back in training but won’t be available to play this week.
“The way we train, we would rather let a player recover full fitness so that he can play with the same intensity as the other players. He won’t be able to do that this week, but he will definitely be ready to do so the following week,” said Coetzee.