Cape Town - Western Province have been hard at work in preparation for their 2019 Currie Cup campaign.
The Capetonians open their campaign against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, July 13.
Head coach John Dobson and his management team have been working with a wider squad of 36 players, ahead of a campaign that will see them face the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions and Pumas at Newlands, with away games against Griquas, Sharks and Free State Cheetahs.
Following the league phase of the competition which will see all seven teams play six games each, the top four will go through to the semi-finals, with the final scheduled to be played on Saturday, September 7.
NEW ROLE FOR FLECK
Dobson's management team has not changed from last year, with Dawie Snyman (backs), Norman Laker (defence) and Hanyani Shimange (forwards) the assistant coaches once again. Riefaat Jappie will be the strength and conditioning coach and Chippie Solomon the team manager, while Robbie Fleck will be assisting all Western Province professional teams on a technical basis.
Fleck recently stepped down as Stormers head coach, with Dobson to take over in the 2020 season.
There are nine WP players currently part of the Springbok training squad with those who don't end up travelling to the Rugby World Cup in Japan potentially available for Western Province this season, while there are others on the long-term injury list who are not expected to play a part in the single round Currie Cup.
Dobson said that the squad is excited about the challenge that lies ahead of them.
"While there are some players missing due to injury and others like JJ Engelbrecht and EW Viljoen will be playing elsewhere after their contracts with us ended, we have a strong squad which is a testament to the depth we have at our disposal," he told the official WP Rugby website.
"The competition format means that we have to hit the ground running next week and the players and management cannot wait to get stuck in this season."
Dobson said that while general planning and preparation for the Stormers' 2020 Super Rugby campaign has begun, the primary focus is on claiming another Currie Cup title.
"There will always be high expectations for Western Province in the Currie Cup, which is something we embrace and value.
"We are planning ahead to next year by refining our processes and how we go about things, but there will be no compromises made in this Currie Cup campaign, we owe that to our faithful supporters,” he said.
Western Province squad:
Juarno Augustus, Kwenzo Blose, Craig Barry, Jaco Coetzee, Paul de Wet, Johan du Toit, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Neethling Fouche, Corne Fourie, Liam Hendricks, Michael Kumbirai, Dan Kriel, Wilco Louw, Godlen Masimla, Chris Massyn, SP Marais, David Meihuizen, Salmaan Moerat, Ruhan Nel, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, Sergeal Petersen, Justin Phillips, Marno Redelinghuys, Ramone Samuels, Carlu Sadie, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Chad Solomon, Josh Stander, Edwill van der Merwe, Ernst van Rhyn, Chris van Zyl, Jano Vermaak, Ali Vermaak, Nama Xaba