Nine players will make their Absa Currie Cup debuts for DHL Western Province when they take on the Sharks in a first-round match at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 19h10).
Deon Fourie, who will start in the No.6 jersey, was on Wednesday confirmed as the man to captain DHL WP during the 2012 Absa Currie Cup season and he will have a raft of ‘new’ players around him come the weekend.
Backs Gerhard van den Heever, JP du Plessis and Burton Francis all played in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament for the DHL Stormers this year, but will be on debut for DHL WP in the Absa Currie Cup tournament, along with forwards Jebb Sinclair, Don Armand, Tyrone Holmes and Deon Carstens.
Starting centre Du Plessis and reserves Wilhelm van der Sluys and Damian de Allende have all played for the DHL Western Province Under-21 team this season and follow in the footsteps of Springbok squad members, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi, as players who are still eligible for the DHL WP U21 side at present.
Thirteen members of the DHL WP matchday squad faced up to the Sharks in their recent Vodacom Super Rugby clash at this selfsame venue, whilst eight players represented the victorious Vodacom Cup side at some point this year.
“It’s important to get off to a good start in the competition irrespective of who you play and home games are particular importance too,” said Allister Coetzee, the DHL Western Province head coach.
“We won 14 from 17 [in the Super Rugby season] which shows that there is not a lot wrong and we will definitely not try and re-invent the wheel during the Absa Currie Cup season.”
The DHL Western Province team to take on the Sharks is as follows:
15. Joe Pietersen
14. Gerhard van den Heever*
13. JP du Plessis*
12. Marcel Brache
11. Gio Aplon
10. Burton Francis*
9. Dewaldt Duvenage
8. Jebb Sinclair*
7. Tyrone Holmes*
6. Deon Fourie (captain)
5. De Kock Steenkamp
4. Don Armand*
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Tiaan Liebenberg
1. Deon Carstens*
16. Siyabonga Ntubeni
17. Brok Harris
18. JC Kritzinger
19. Wilhelm van der Sluys*
20. Louis Schreuder
21. Gary van Aswegen
22. Damian de Allende*
* On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
The full programme for Saturday, August 11 (at DHL Newlands):
14h55 – DHL Western Province Under-19 vs Sharks
16h45 – DHL Western Province Under-21 vs Sharks
19h10 – DHL Western Province vs Sharks (Absa Currie Cup)
Western Province has also named their full Currie Cup Squad for the 2012 Absa Currie Cup season, here is the official media release regarding the squad as a whole:
Allister Coetzee, the head coach of the DHL Western Province team, has announced his squad for the upcoming 2012 Absa Currie Cup season.
Built around a core of players that helped the DHL Stormers finish top of the 2012 Vodacom Super Rugby joint log, Coetzee has also included players who were part of the victorious Vodacom Cup side earlier this year.
In the absence of Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Andries Bekker, Siya Kolisi, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh and Bryan Habana, Super Rugby regulars Deon Fourie (who was announced as the DHL WP captain for the season), Tiaan Liebenberg, Brok Harris, Rynhardt Elstadt, De Kock Steenkamp, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gio Aplon and Joe Pietersen will provide much-needed experience.
At the same time, however, Vodacom Cup winners Don Armand, Tyrone Holmes, Nic Groom, Marcel Brache and Ederies Arendse, along with DHL WP Under-21 stars, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Wilhelm van der Sluys, JP du Plessis, Damian de Allende, Tshotsho Mbovane, Dean Hammond and Craig Barry, could get the chance to take a step up during the Absa Currie Cup season.
Jebb Sinclair (No.8) and Burton Francis (flyhalf), who were part of the 2012 DHL Stormers squad, have had their stays in Cape Town extended and will both be key members in Blue & White for the remainder of the 2012 season.
“Jebb (Sinclair) was part of our set-up during Super Rugby, but was unfortunately unable to play in the play-offs and Burton (Francis) was involved until the end,” said Coetzee.
“However, both Jebb and Burton (Francis) will now be staying with us for the duration of the Currie Cup which is a plus.
“Our loose forward injuries have been well documented, so having Jebb around is a big boost, and if you look at flyhalf there is Burton Francis, Gary van Aswegen, Demetri Catrakilis and Kurt Coleman so we have four quality flyhalves at our disposal.”
The DHL WP boss was under no illusions ahead of the 2012 Absa Currie Cup but he was relishing the prospect of getting stuck in – starting against the Sharks at DHL Newlands this weekend – especially with some new faces in the selection mix.
Said Coetzee: “We are coming from a high intensity competition (Vodacom Super Rugby) into the same kind of environment now.
“I think it is a very good thing for youngsters to understand the intensity that they will be faced with if they want to play at a higher level.
“We are hoping to give opportunities to players who deserve to be there and keep working hard. Some of those players did well in the Vodacom Cup, so hopefully they can take the next step into the Currie Cup.”
Loose forwards Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster are expected to return to action over the next few weeks, after picking up knee injuries during the Vodacom Super Rugby, whilst fullback Heinrich Steyl is back in training after suffering a serious leg injury during last year’s Absa Currie Cup.
2012 DHL Western Province Absa Currie Cup squad (38):
Don Armand, Deon Carstens, Tertius Daniller, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie (Captain), Yaya Hartzenberg, Brok Harris, Tyrone Holmes, Steven Kitshoff, Nick Koster, JC Kritzinger, Tiaan Liebenberg, Frans Malherbe, Siyabonga Ntubeni, De Kock Steenkamp, Jebb Sinclair, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Alistair Vermaak, Duane Vermeulen
Gio Aplon, Ederies Arendse, Craig Barry, Marcel Brache, Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman, Damian de Allende, JP du Plessis, Dewaldt Duvenage, Burton Francis, Nic Groom, Dean Hammond, Berton Klaasen, Tshotsho Mbovane, Joe Pietersen, Louis Schreuder, Heinrich Steyl, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever
Unavailable because of Springbok commitments:
Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Siya Kolisi
Unavailable because of injury:
Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr