Speedster Seabelo Senatla will almost certainly miss Friday night’s home Absa Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands, but the DHL Western Province brains-trust will be holding thumbs that his absence from the game won’t be for long.
The Springbok Sevens star will have the ankle that he twisted during his match winning performance for WP against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus this past weekend assessed on Monday.
He said after the match that the ankle didn’t feel bad, and he was apparently walking comfortably on Sunday, but WP coach Allister Coetzee has listed him as a doubtful starter for Friday night’s game.
If Senatla does just miss the Kings game it will be better than might have been hoped when he was helped from the field during the 23-18 win in Pretoria. He looked in considerable discomfort and the television replays showed him twisting his ankle in a nasty way.
The reason that the WP coaches will be thankful if Senatla is out for just one week is because he has become an almost indispensable part of the game that Province have employed to take them to the top of the log one week short of the halfway point of the league season.
The pace he and the other wing, Kobus van Wyk, display running off fullback Cheslin Kolbe is what has made WP so potent on the counter-attack, with Senatla being particularly influential, as was shown at Loftus.
“We know he just needs half a chance, he can turn any half opportunity into a seven pointer,” said Coetzee.
Indeed, he can, and with WP struggling to make much impact with their attacking game off structured play at Loftus, that ability is worth gold to the Cape team at present.
WP do need to work on aspects of their forward play as they head into the second half of the season as their scrumming was again poor and their lineout communication also let them down on occasion at Loftus.
The Kings game might be an opportunity to rotate a bit in selection, with a player such as Ruan Botha deserving of a start even though Manuel Carizza has played well in the No5 jersey.
One of the unsung heroes of the WP season so far is under-21 lock Jean Kleyn, who gets through a mountain of work in the tight-loose and on his current form should be a great back-up for Springbok Eben Etzebeth in the Stormers Super Rugby squad next year.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni is one of the players due back from injury shortly, as is young loosehead prop Oli Kebble.