Vodacom Cup

Taute to make return with WP

2015-05-07 20:38
Jaco Taute (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Currie Cup-winning centre Jaco Taute will make his long-awaited return to action in 2015 for the Western Province Vodacom Cup team in Saturday's last-round league encounter against the SWD Eagles at Newlands.

Taute, who has been out of action with a knee injury up until now, will start at outside centre for the top-of-the-log and unbeaten WP side against the team from George.

Joining the hard-running Taute in the mix this week is powerful loosehead prop Oli Kebble - back from Stormers duty - as well as hard-working flanker Tapiwa Tsomondo, who was part of the WP Under-21 set-up last year.

"It's a treat to welcome Jaco Taute and Oli Kebble into the fold,"Western Province coach John Dobson told the WP's official website.

"In fact, we have had to make some tough selection choices and some important squad members are missing out or being rotated this week.

"It's also great to welcome back Taps Tsomondo back from club rugby after doing well for the U21s last year and, of course, Mikey Willemse is back at hooker and resumes the captaincy."

A win over the fourth-placed Eagles on Saturday will give Western Province - the 2012 Vodacom Cup champions - an easier passage through the play-offs as the leading team from the South Section.

"This is an extremely important game for us - we have the home quarter-final, but we need to win this to ensure a home semifinal should we move past the quarters," explained Dobson.

"(But) winning on Saturday is not just about a potential home semifinal, it's about the standards we have set ourselves as a group and focusing on our own performance.

"Probably, with one exception, in no game have we attained those standards and thus not played to our potential.

"We also have a deep-rooted desire to go unbeaten this season - there is something special about that and this game is very important to us.

"SWD have had their best campaign for many a year and have produced some remarkable results in putting away the Sharks, the Kings and the Cheetahs.

"Of course, we don't need reminding about our loss to them in George last year, which cost us home-ground advantage in the play-offs."

Province recorded a 30-29 win over the Free State XV in Bloemfontein last weekend - despite having led by 17-3 at half-time - and Dobson would like to see a big effort from his troops ahead of the knockout stages of the 2015 Vodacom Cup.

"We were not happy with our last twenty minutes in giving up a handsome lead (in Bloemfontein)," added the WP boss.

It was not so much that (giving up the lead), but, rather, some technical and effort issues that concerned us.

"We have travelled a lot this season and to go to altitude two weeks in a row against two good teams (Griquas and Free State) took a lot out of us.

"But we got the wins and we are looking forward to a possible home run during the play-offs."

Kick-off for Saturday's encounter is scheduled for 14:45.

Western Province team to face the SWD Eagles:

15. EW Viljoen, 14. Tshotsho Mbovane, 13. Jaco Taute, 12. Kyle Lombard, 11. JP Lewis, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Godlen Masimla, 8. Rayn Smid, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Tapiwa Tsomondo, 5. Chris van Zyl, 4. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Michael Willemse (captain), 1. Oli Kebble

Substitutes: 16. Charlton van Jaarsveld, 17. Sti Sithole, 18. Jan de Klerk, 19. Justin Benn, 20. SP Ferreira, 21. Jean-Luc du Plessis, 22. Willy Ambaka


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