Western Province look likely to unleash Springbok Sevens star Seabelo Senatla at right wing in their opening Currie Cup encounter.
According to reports, the 21-year-old landed in Cape Town on Tuesday after helping the South African Sevens side claim gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at the weekend.
Western Province’s preparations for their opening 2014 Currie Cup game have been hamstrung by the timing of the Springbok squad announcement which will be made in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Several Province players are expected to be named in the national squad which will play in the Rugby Championship next month and that will rule them out for Currie Cup duty.
The Toyota Free State Cheetahs have picked up promising former Western Province Under 21 and UCT loose forward, Vincent Jobo, for their Absa Currie Cup campaign and a good showing may even lead to a Vodacom Super Rugby stint for the player nicknamed “The Animal.”
Jobo had an impressive Varsity Cup last year and is one of the rising stars of Cape Rugby. The decision to move to Bloemfontein for the Currie Cup is an excellent one for him as the former King Edward VII schoolboy has fought his way through the ranks and is now being rewarded for his form.
Highly-rated former SA Schools and SA Under 20 hooker Bongi Mbonambi will join Western Province Rugby at the start of the 2015 season.
Western Province Rugby Union president Thelo Wakefield says winning the 2014 Currie Cup is “non-negotiable” for the Capetonians.
Wakefield was left upset after the Stormers finished the Super Rugby season in a lowly 11th position – their worst effort since finishing 10th in 2009.
He didn’t get what he wanted from the last game of the Vodacom Super Rugby season, which was for his DHL Stormers team to buck the trend of failure in marquee matches, but typically that did not place a massive dent in Schalk Burger’s good humour afterwards.
“I’m not going to see you guys for a while. It would be nice to have you staying over with us in Japan sometime. Get an excuse to come and write about the South Africans playing in Japan and we will be happy to host you,” was the Stormers captain’s grinning parting statement as he left the Newlands boardroom following the post-match press conference after the defeat to the Sharks.
Rugby, or particularly junior rugby, is alive and well in the Western Cape. It is no surprise that they rule the roost in the under age groups, it’s a phenomena that we have come to expect and sometimes take for granted.
The challenge for the men in the board rooms of WP Rugby Union is how to hang onto all the talent. They are lambasted on an annual basis for those that they “let slip away” and credit for those they managed to secure is few and far between. Are we, as supporters, always fair in our criticism of our respective unions? How can anybody be 100% sure that a player will make the step up.
Tim Swiel is a good case in point, when news broke that he signed at the Sharks social network went into overdrive with unhappy Western Province supporters taking shots at Allister Coetzee, Rob Wagner and Thelo Wakefield. This was a kid who showed immense talent while playing for Bishops and then went on to help Western Province win the Under 21 Currie Cup.
Yet, hardly 6 months later he is being lambasted on rugby sites by Shark supporters who blame him for their loss against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein a week ago. Jake White, after losing Pat Lambie to injury in March, placed his faith in young Swiel, but that seems to also now be misplaced. Swiel has been dropped from the match 23 a week after he was the starting fly half.
The Eastern Province Kings are reportedly interested in luring Western Province lock Tazz Fuzani to Port Elizabeth.
Fuzani, 23, made a promising debut for WP in last year’s Currie Cup, but appears to have fallen out of favour with WP / Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
Western Province and the Stormers look likely to lose the services of props Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris.
According to reports, Cilliers is heading to French club Montpellier, while Welsh club Newport are believed to be hunting the signature of Harris.
Western Province and the Stormers are reportedly hunting the services of Bulls kicking consultant Vlok Cilliers.
Cilliers, a former flyhalf who played one Test for the Boks in 1996, started working as the Bulls’ kicking coach in 2004.
Western Province flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is set to join the Eastern Province Kings for a trial period.
Van Aswegen joined up with the Port Elizabeth-based team on Tuesday.
The trial period will be for one month, but if all goes well, the 24-year-old could represent the EP Kings in this year’s Currie Cup.
DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls have both announced that they will be playing against Saracens, at Allianz Park, London, England.
In the case of WP, they will play Saracens at the end of the Currie Cup season in 2014, whereas the Blue Bulls will play Saracens late January 2015.
DHL Stormers and WP player Deon Fourie has signed a 2 year deal with newly promoted French club Lyon.
Western Province Vodacom Cup coach John Dobson is in England to learn skills from rugby league side Wigan and union team Northampton.
Dobson paid for the two-week trip himself but has informed the union’s Director of Rugby, Gert Smal, about it.
The Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) is open to again discuss a possible move away from Newlands to Cape Town Stadium.
This comes after the union suspended talks in February this year after it was upset when then-Mayoral Committee Member Grant Pascoe said talks ‘were taking place behind closed doors’ to secure WP as the anchor tenant for the stadium.
Exciting Maties flyhalf Robert du Preez has signed a contract with Western Province Rugby, which will see last year’s SA Under-20 pivot play his rugby in Cape Town until 2016 at least.
The vastly-experienced Gert Smal will join Western Province Rugby as the new Director of Rugby, with effect from April 1, 2014.
A new era is set to dawn on Western Province with John Dobson likely to be named Currie Cup coach, according to reports.
The Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) will hold a press conference on Monday, where Gert Smal is expected to be appointed as Director of Rugby.
Gert Smal is set to be installed as the Western Province director of rugby as the union prepares to overhaul the much maligned Stormers management team.
According to reports, it is understood that Smal, who is a big favourite of Wakefield and was first sounded out about the role last August, could be announced in his new position as early as next week, with Wakefield now assured of the ratification of his proposal by the board, who he says support him 100%.
Top-14 outfit Grenoble are confident that they will have Stormers and Springbok wing Gio Aplon on their books for next season, club sources have said on Wednesday.
The Boland Rugby Union and Western Province Rugby Football Union have announced a brand new club rugby competition, the Community Challenge Club Rugby Competition.
A total of eight clubs – four clubs each from the Boland and Western Province premier leagues – will form part of the inaugural Community Challenge, which kicks off on March 1, 2014. The finals will take place on March 29, 2014.
Western Province and Stormers forward Michael Rhodes will appear before a South African Rugby Union (SARU) judicial committee on Thursday for a dangerous tackle in last year’s Currie Cup final against The Sharks at Newlands.
Springbok and Stormers wing Gio Aplon’s preferred destination, if he leaves South African rugby, will be Japan, and not France, as earlier reports had indicated.
Western Province Rugby chief executive Rob Wagner has moved to dismiss reports that Aplon had signed a contract with French team Grenoble.
Springbok and Stormers winger Gio Aplon is set to become the next high-profile South African to head to France after it was revealed he was “close to signing” a contract with French club Grenoble.
When interim head coach Scott Johnson and the rest of the Scotland management group sit down to select the team to play Ireland in Dublin on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, one name that will not be bandied about is that of Tommy Allan, despite the player having turned out for the Scotland Under 17, 18 and Under 20 teams.
Forgotten Western Province and Lions utility back Earl Rose has been given another chance to resurrect his rugby career.
Western Province Rugby can confirm that one of its players was arrested on suspicion that his blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.
The Sharks have swooped to secure the services of talented Western Province Under-20 flyhalf Tim Swiel.
Western Province Rugby would like to extend its condolences to the Mellish family, with the passing of former Western Province prop and rugby administrator Francis Mellish last weekend.
Western Province forward Michael Rhodes has been cited for a dangerous tackle in the Currie Cup Final against the Sharks at Newlands.