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Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones says he wants them to play a brand of rugby that attracts people to come watch them.

After arriving in Cape Town last week, Jones held his 1st press-conference as DHL Stormers coach at Newlands on Thursday.

Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jones said: “It’s a fantastic city. Western Province is one of the most prestigious unions in the world – there is so much history here.

“When the opportunity came up to coach the Stormers – such a well-supported team, the best in the competition – it was simply too good to ignore. Of course, the ultimate aim is to produce a good team that attracts people to the stadium and, ultimately, challenges to win trophies.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

The Western Province Rugby Football Union indicated that they would like to wish former DHL Western Province and DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers well as he embarks on the next phase of his stellar rugby career at top English club, Leicester Tigers.

De Villiers 1st wore the Blue & White hoops of Western Province as an aspiring Under 13 Craven Week player, that after his father, Andre, represented Western Province with distinction in the 1970s.

Jean de Villiers played his final match for the DHL Stormers on 3 May 2014 (against the Highlanders at DHL Newlands), racking up a total of 105 caps since his debut against the Sharks in February 2005.

He also played 50 matches for DHL Western Province, his final appearance coming in the 2013 ABSA Currie Cup Final – having made his debut in the Vodacom Cup in February 2001.

De Villiers would certainly have played more games for WP Rugby had it not been for a catalogue of serious injuries – especially the knee injury he suffered on his Springbok debut in November 2002 – but he will go down as one of this union’s greatest players in the modern era after also amassing 109 Springbok caps (including 37 as captain).

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will continue his playing career in the English Premiership after signing with the Leicester Tigers.

De Villiers was part of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winning squad in 2007 and captain of the 2015 campaign but announced his international retirement after suffering a fractured jaw in the 2nd Round of the tournament. With 109 Test caps he is among the most experienced players in the world game.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Jean brings invaluable experience to the squad. He is among the leading centres in the modern game and has played at the very highest level for a significant period of time.

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Xerox Golden LionsDHL WPGolden Lions (22) 32 / 24 (10) WP (Final Score)

The Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province did battle in the FINAL of the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup at

Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg at 13:45 SA Time (11:45 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.


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Xerox Golden LionsDHL WPIt once was the biggest game in South Africa, the highlight of the year – to determine the most supreme team in the country.

On Saturday the FINAL of the ABSA Currie Cup, still the premier domestic competition, will compete for a place in the spotlight with the BIGGEST game in Rugby Union – a World Cup showdown between South Africa and New Zealand.

However, the Xerox Golden Lions and DHL Western Province will play like, and the winners celebrate as if, they are involved in a Rugby World Cup Final.

The build-up may have been low-key – in comparison with other finals – but there is no doubt that the game will be every bit as intense and entertaining as any Final that has gone before.

Province coach John Dobson was keen to take on the underdog tag – pointing to the Lions’ 62 / 32 win 3 weeks ago and their unbeaten run as reasons why pundits are likely to bank on the home team.

However, he feels the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, in last week’s Semifinal Round, gave other teams a glimpse of how to bring the Emirates Airline Park-based team down to earth.

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann was not keen to take the ‘favourites’ tag offered to him by Dobson.

The wily Golden Lions mentor feels Western Province have a real chance of retaining their title.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province will field an unchanged line-up in Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup FINAL against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Coach John Dobson has wisely not tampered with the match-22 that beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls by 23 / 18 in last weekend’s semifinal, with outside centre Johnny Kotze (knock to the knee) cleared to take part in the final.

Kotze will start in his 1st-ever ABSA Currie Cup Final and he is 1 of 7 players doing so, whilst a total of 12 players in the matchday squad will be wearing Province colours in a final for the 1st time.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has been linked with a move to English Premiership club, Leicester Tigers.

A jaw fracture suffered against Samoa prematurely ended De Villiers’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign, with the midfielder subsequently announcing his retirement from international rugby.

De Villiers hinted that he would finish his professional career overseas, while revealing that he was considering a few options in England.

He was linked to the Tigers earlier this year, but the deal fell through before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

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ABSA Currie CupWith just 2 knockout Rounds left until the 2015 ABSA Currie Cup champions are crowned this year, the 4 remaining teams in the country’s oldest and most prestigious domestic rugby competition have it all to play for in the 2 Semifinals this weekend.

DHL Western Province, the 2014 champions, travel to Pretoria for their clash on Friday evening against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The Blue Bulls, who finished 2nd on the Log, will host their 1st ABSA Currie Cup Semifinal since 2008, with the match starting at 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

The in-form Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, have so far swept aside every challenge before them this season and they are currently on a 10-match unbeaten run in the competition. They are playing in the 2nd Semifinal at home in Johannesburg at Emirates Airline Park against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs. This Saturday fixture kick-off is at 13:45 SA Time (11:45 GMT).

The clash in Pretoria will mark the 3rd time that the 2 great North vs South rivals meet this season, and they currently share the spoils between them with a home victory each. Last year, the Cape side defeated their rivals 31 / 23 in the Semifinal at Newlands.

Western Province eventually went on to lift the coveted ABSA Currie Cup trophy in front of their home crowd, after former coach Allister Coetzee’s charges edged the Golden Lions 19 / 16 in the 2014 final.

The Xerox Golden Lions scored a runaway 73 / 31 victory over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in their round-robin meeting last month in Bloemfontein and they should be fresh and rejuvenated after fielding a new-look side for last weekend’s last league fixture against the ORC Griquas.

However, the Free State Cheetahs will approach the meeting with the Golden Lions knowing that previous form will count for nothing in the knockout phase. They managed to escape defeat against the Cell C Sharks last Saturday thanks to a gritty fightback in Bloemfontein and this week they will have to show that fighting spirit from the start against the team that have so far have thrived on their high-tempo, fast attacking style of play.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province head coach John Dobson has announced his team for Friday’s 2015 ABSA Currie Cup semifinal clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

Fullback Cheslin Kolbe, winger Seabelo Senatla, centre Johnny Kotze, flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, lock Ruan Botha, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi all return to the DHL WP starting 15 this week, hardman Elstadt’s return the big news after missing his team’s last 4 encounters with a thigh problem.

Skipper Juan de Jongh will lead the defending champions into battle in Pretoria, partnering Johnny Kotze in midfield, with Senatla, Dillyn Leyds and Kolbe forming a razor-sharp back 3.

Nic Groom and Robert du Preez will comebine at halfbacks, with experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak back on the bench after missing DHL WP’s last 2 matches with a groin strain.

Prop Oli Kebble has shaken off an ankle injury to be named on the bench, where he is joined by lock Chris van Zyl – who, like Kebble, started last Friday’s 45 / 14 win over the EP Kings at DHL Newlands.

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ABSA Currie CupThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Monday confirmed the kick-off times and match officials for the semi-finals of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and the various junior competition playoff fixtures.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls host the DHL Western Province this coming Friday at Loftus Versfeld and the starting time for the 1st Premier Division Semi-final in Pretoria is 19:00 SA Time (17:00 GMT).

On Saturday, the Xerox Golden Lions host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the 2nd playoff match at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Kick-off time is 13:45 SA Time (11:45 GMT).

Referee Marius van der Westhuizen will take charge of the Pretoria encounter while Jaco van Heerden will referee the Johannesburg match.

Both ABSA Currie Cup Semi-finals clashes will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

The 2 ABSA Under 19 A-Division playoff matches are scheduled for this coming Friday, while the 2 playoff matches in the ABSA Under 21 A-Division are scheduled for Saturday.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Toyota Free State Cheetahs clinched a dramatic 34 / 34 draw on Saturday against the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein to finish 4th on the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division Log, and in doing so, they booked themselves a Semifinal clash against the Xerox Golden Lions next weekend in Johannesburg.

The Free State Cheetahs scored 2 converted tries in the in last 5 minutes at the Free State Stadium, while replacement fullback Neil Marais slotted the vital conversion after the final hooter to draw the 2 teams level in Bloemfontein and at the same time shatter the Cell C Sharks’ playoff hopes. The Free State Cheetahs finished 2 points above the Cel C Sharks on the final Log with 24 points.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls finished 2nd on the Log after they edged the Steval Pumas 25 / 24 in Nelspruit on Friday and they now meet 3rd-placed DHL Western Province in Pretoria in the playoffs. The Blue Bulls versus WP clash is set for this coming Friday evening at Loftus Versfeld.

In Cape Town, DHL Western Province finished their league commitments with a bonus-point 45 / 14 win over the Eastern Province Kings. Runaway Log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, completed the round-robin phase unbeaten with 10 wins after their much changed side defeated the ORC Griquas 29 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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ABSA Currie CupThe final Round, Round 10, of league fixtures in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division takes place this weekend and all eyes will be on the Free State Rugby Stadium in Bloemfontein, where the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the Cell C Sharks will battle it out for the remaining Semifinal spot.

Unbeaten Log leaders, the Xerox Golden Lions, are already assured of a home Semifinal, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls and DHL Western Province are also through to the Semifinals.

However, with only 2 points separating the Free State Cheetahs and Cell C Sharks on the Log standings, the 2 teams have everything to play for in what is effectively a Quarterfinal in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.

The Free State Cheetahs currently have 21 points and the Cell C Sharks 19, and both teams know that a victory will book a meeting with the competition’s in-form and most prolific team this season, the Golden Lions, in Johannesburg. The losing team, meanwhile, will crash out of the competition.

DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls also have a lot to play for. Both teams are in action on Friday and their respective matches in Cape Town and Nelspruit kick off at the same time at 18:00 SA Time.

The Blue Bulls, 2nd on the Log with 34 points, face the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium and the Pretoria side knows that a win, even without a bonus point, will be enough to guarantee them a home Semifinal in the capital. Steval Pumas stalwart Marius Coetzer will deservedly earn his 100th cap when he takes to the field from the bench, while skipper Stefan Watermeyer will earn his 50th cap.

Western Province, in turn, face an injury-hit EP Kings side at DHL Newlands and the Capetonians will run out knowing that a bonus-point win is a must if they want to keep alive their slim hope of hosting a playoff match. However, for that to happen they must hope for a Blue Bulls defeat in Nelspruit.

Meanwhile, the free-scoring Golden Lions will round off their league commitments with a home clash against the bottom-of-the-log ORC Griquas in a 16:00 SA Time kick-off at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

Interestingly, the Nel-brothers, Ruhan of ORC Griquas and Jacques of the Golden Lions, will line up opposite each other, with both playing in the No 13 jersey for their respective teams. Ruhan, a Springbok Sevens international, plays outside centre for Griquas after playing on the wing against the Cell C Sharks last weekend. The brothers played together for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup, but this will be the 1st time they will play against each other.

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Cheslin Kolbe

Cheslin Kolbe

3 DHL Western Province players have found themselves on the injury list following their massive defeat to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Kobus van Wyk (hamstring contusion), Chris Cloete (calf muscle) and Cheslin Kolbe (bone bruising and a knock to shoulder) are all unavailable for selection for their final round-robin match against the Eastern Province Kings at Newlands on Friday.

The trio joins Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) and Rynhardt Elstadt (quadricep), who remains on the injured list and are also unavailable.

There is a silver lining for the Cape side though, as both Jano Vermaak and Dillyn Leyds have recovered from their groin strains and are available for selection.

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Juan de Jongh

Juan de Jongh

Fit-again Springbok centre Juan de Jongh returns to captain DHL Western Province in their crunch match against the Xerox Golden Lions.

De Jongh has been out of action since suffering an MCL injury against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in mid-August and his return to fitness is a massive boost for the defending champions ahead of the 2015 play-offs.

De Jongh will start at inside centre ahead of Huw Jones, as the WP coaching staff intends to control his game time upon his return to action.

In other changes to the line-up from the side that beat the Steval Pumas, Cheslin Kolbe, Nic Groom, Chris Cloete, Jean Kleyn and Steven Kitshoff all return to the starting 15.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province head coach John Dobson has made 6 changes to his starting team for Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Steval Pumas at DHL Newlands.

As expected, Dillyn Leyds will start at fullback – in place of the injured Cheslin Kolbe – with Kobus van Wyk moving up from the bench to start in the No 14 jersey.

In the final change to the DHL WP backline this week, Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will make his 1st start in Blue & White Hoops, having come off the bench last week to score a valuable try for his new team.

Up front, meanwhile, loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff has not recovered from his chest niggle, handing Oli Kebble a start in the No 1 jersey.

In the 2nd row, Jan de Klerk will make a 1st start at this level, with Jean Kleyn getting a deserved rest on the bench, and skipper Nizaam Carr returns to assume the team captaincy and the No 8 jersey.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who started at No 8 last week, will pack down on the side of the scrum – at No 7 – with Jurie van Vuuren, a last-minute starter last weekend, reverting to the bench. The hard-hitting Rynhardt Elstadt is still unavailable with a thigh injury.

The new faces on the bench this week are fit-again hooker Michael Willemse (in for the injured Scarra Ntubeni), prop Ali Vermaak and utility back Jaco Taute.

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions scored 2 tries in the 2nd half to secure a 26 / 18 win against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday afternoon. The win kept the Lions’ unbeaten status intact and they now have an 8-point lead over the Vodacom Blue Bulls on the Log.

Also on Saturday, former Junior Springbok wing Sergeal Petersen ran in a brace of tries as the Toyota Free State Cheetahs completed a 44 / 24 bonus-point home win over the ORC Griquas.

The win saw the Free State Cheetahs leapfrog the Cell C Sharks and the Steval Pumas to move into 4th place on the Log and keep their semifinal chances alive while the Griquas remain rooted to the bottom of the table after just 1 win from their 7 matches.

DHL Western Province gained sweet revenge against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands with a 29 / 14 victory in Cape Town on Friday evening. The Pretoria side will rue a string of missed opportunities that cost them the chance of closing the gap on the log leaders as handling errors and strong defence from WP meant they suffered their 2nd loss of the campaign.

The Steval Pumas kept their slim semifinal hopes alive with a gritty 20 / 9 win over the Eastern Province Kings in their fixture at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday.

The Pumas had come into the game off the back of 2 consecutive losses and were desperate to get back to winning ways. The victory has kept them in distant touch with the front-runners and was just enough to make them outside contenders for the playoffs. They did not collect a bonus point but the win could prove crucial at the end of the round-robin stage.

After 7 Rounds, the Xerox Golden Lions are out in front on 33 points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls on 25 points. Last year’s winners, DHL Western Province, are currently 3rd on 24 points, followed by the Toyota Free State Cheetahs on 17 points. The Cell C Sharks (13) and Pumas (also 13) follow next, then the Kings in 7th place (7) and Griquas (6).

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ABSA Currie CupThe Xerox Golden Lions reigned over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their ABSA Currie Cup derby on Saturday evening at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria thanks to a thrilling 36 / 28 win in their Top of the Table clash.

Johan Ackermann’s outfit consolidated their position on the Top of the Premier Division standings and at the same time opened up a 4 point lead over their Northern neighbours, who suffered their 1st defeat of the campaign.

Last year’s winners, DHL Western Province, strengthened their grip on 3rd place with a gritty 37 / 27 away win over the Cell C Sharks in Durban. Elsewhere, the ORC Griquas and the Eastern Province Kings scored their 1st wins of the competition.

In Kimberley, the Griquas prevailed 32 / 15 over the Steval Pumas while a 14-man EP Kings side defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs by 32 / 24 at home in Port Elizabeth.

With just 4 Rounds of ordinary league action remaining before the play-off’s, the Xerox Golden Lions are leading the race for semi-final places. They have 29 Log points, followed by the Vodacom Blue Bulls (25), DHL Western Province (20), Cell C Sharks (13), Toyota Free State Cheetahs (12), Steval Pumas (9), Eastern Province Kings (7) and ORC Griquas (6).

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ABSA Currie CupThe Trans-Jukskei derby is the highlight of Round 6 and a sneak preview of a possible Currie Cup Final.

The undefeated neighbours, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Xerox Golden Lions, have been the standout teams and also the 2 most entertaining sides.

Johan Ackermann’s Golden Lions are leading the standings on 25 Log points – having collected a full-house 5 points in all 5 their outings this season.

The Blue Bulls are a solitary point behind, also winning 5 from 5 but won the last Round’s game without a bonus point.

The weekend’s action starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday where the winless Eastern Province Kings host a vastly-improved Toyota Free State Cheetahs team.

Saturday’s early match will see another winless team, ORC Griquas, host a struggling Steval Pumas outfit in Kimberley. Although the Pumas have 2 wins to their credit, including beating the Cell C Sharks in Round 1, they have struggled to maintain their early momentum.

The 3rd-placed DHL Western Province, who are a full 9 points behind the Golden Lions, face the Cell C Sharks in Durban in Round 6 – both desperate for some consistency in a season where promising victories have been soured by disappointing defeats.

Then, of course, we head to Pretoria for what may well be 1 of the best matches of the season.

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Nic Groom

Nic Groom

Nic Groom will take over the captaincy for DHL Western Province from injured No 8 Nizaam Carr – against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

DHL WP will be looking to dominate a ressurgent Sharks team in their own backyard.

There has also been a late change from the announced team, with Kurt Coleman dropping out due to a calf strain, replaced by Robert du Preez at flyhalf and with Demetri Catrakilis on the bench as flyhalf cover.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe returns from injury to start at No 8 in 1 of only 3 changes made to the starting line-up from last weekend’s confidence boosting 33 / 15 win over the ORC Griquas.

Carr has a hamstring injury and will not be fit to face the Sharks.

The other changes to the Province starting 15 sees Dillyn Leyds start on the right wing, in place of Kobus van Wyk – who drops down to the bench.

Exciting young talent Huw Jones will make his 1st start in the Currie Cup in place of Jaco Taute at inside centre.

The fit-again pairing of prop Oli Kebble and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, come onto the bench this week – in the place of JP Smith and Godlen Masimla, respectively.

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Daniel du Plessis

Daniel du Plessis

Hooker Daniel du Plessis suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday afternoon whilst playing for the DHL Western Province Under 21 team at DHL Newlands. However, on Monday Du Plessis began to show a steady improvement which is a very positive sign for a full recovery.

Daniel Mills du Plessis – who turned 20 on 24 February 2015 – collapsed on the field during Saturday’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 encounter between DHL WP and the Leopards and he stopped breathing. He was immediately attended to by the DHL Western Province Under 21 medical team and, together with paramedics from ER24, he was resuscitated on the field and further stabilised in the stadium medical room by the stadium specialists.

Once stable, Daniel was immediately transferred by ambulance to the ICU at Vincent Pallotti Hospital. He was put in an induced coma and ventilated on Saturday night. After a steady improvement and excellent specialist care, he has come off the ventilator and is now sitting up and talking.

He still has a recovery period ahead, and the cause of his heart arrest remains unknown, but his steady improvement is a very positive sign for a full recovery.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Oli Kebble

Oli Kebble

DHL Western Province have been boosted by the availability of prop Oli Kebble and flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe as they prepare to face the Cell C Sharks in a Currie Cup clash in Durban on Saturday.

Kebble (hamstring) was sidelined for WP’s last 2 matches, while Notshe (AC joint) missed last weekend’s 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands.

Both players were back at training on Monday will be available for selection this week.

Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, who had been sidelined in recent weeks by a finger injury, is also back at training and may be considered.

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ABSA Currie CupABSA Currie Cup pacesetters the Xerox Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls continued with their unbeaten run over the weekend, while 2014 winners DHL Western Province returned to winning ways after suffering 2 losses in a row.

The Xerox Golden Lions are top of the Premier Division Log standings thanks to a 37 / 21 win over the embattled Eastern Province Kings.

Despite racing into a 19 / 0 lead very early on, the EP Kings rallied back with a spirited performance and the Golden Lions could only seal their success with a late surge on Saturday evening in Johannesburg.

Thanks to their bonus-point win at home, the Golden Lions now Top the log with 25 Log points, 1 more than the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who triumphed 24 / 17 over a resilient Toyota Free State Cheetahs on a cold and wet Friday evening in Pretoria.

Western Province turned on the style in the 2nd half to score a much needed bonus-point 33 / 15 victory over the ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands on Saturday after suffering 2 consecutive defeats. The Cape side have 15 points and remains in 3rd spot.

At Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban, the Cell C Sharks held off a tremendous effort from the Steval Pumas to make it 2 wins in a row thanks to their close-fought 27 / 26 win over the visitors. The Sharks are 4th on the Log and just 2 points behind DHL WP.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province look set to lose their 2nd captain this Currie Cup season.

Juan de Jongh is still a long term concern after the knee injury he picked up mid-August against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, and now Nizaam Carr faces a spell on the sidelines too.

The WP No  8 left the field towards the end of the 1st half in his side’s eventual 33 / 15 win over ORC Griquas at Newlands on Saturday, and coach John Dobson confirmed after the match that his skipper was doubt for next weekend’s trip to the Cell C Sharks.

“Very much so,” was his response when asked if Carr was now in doubt for the Sharks game.

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DHL WPA DHL Western Province Under 21 player collapsed on the field of play after suffering a cardiac arrest during his team’s ABSA Provincial Under 21 match against the Leopards at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Rapid response emergency procedures were immediately activated. This resulted in a successful resuscitation on field and the player was subsequently transferred to ICU for further investigations and medical care.

WP Rugby would like to thank the specialist medical team, as well as the ER24 on-duty crew, for their swift actions.

At this stage, the player cannot be named until his family has been informed in full about the incident. We further request that the media respect the player and his family’s privacy during these tough times.

Steven Kitshoff

Steven Kitshoff

Springbok training squad members Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff will both start in the front row for DHL Western Province in Saturday’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands.

Ntubeni replaces Bongi Mbonambi at hooker, whilst Kitshoff comes in for Ali Vermaak at loosehead prop, with coach John Dobson making a total of 5 personnel changes to the starting line-up that went down 21 / 28 to the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Friday.

The other changes to the DHL WP starting 15 sees Nic Groom and Kurt Coleman team up as halfback pairing, whilst livewire flanker Chris Cloete will start in the No 6 jersey with Rynhardt Elstadt filling in for Sikhumbuzo Notshe (shoulder) in the No 7 shirt.

On the bench, meanwhile, Chris van Zyl is over his knee injury to slot in as the lock replacement, fit-again Jurie van Vuuren will provide loose forward cover and inside back Robert du Preez is set for his 1st taste of ABSA Currie Cup action this season.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Steven Kitshoff

Steven Kitshoff

DHL Western Province flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe will miss this Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas with an AC Joint injury.

The impressive Notshe is not expected to be out for longer than a week, but coach John Dobson does have some loose forward options to replace him.

“Jurie van Vuuren is back to full fitness and someone like Chris Cloete deserves an opportunity, after coming off the bench so far,” coach John Dobson said.

“Chris starting would mean Rynhardt Elstadt moving back to No 7, but we’re comfortable either way in our players.”

In other news, Springbok squad member Steven Kitshoff (loosehead prop) and Barbarians representative Nic Groom (scrumhalf) are both available for selection this week.

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Kobus van Wyk

Kobus van Wyk

Wing Kobus van Wyk is back in the DHL Western Province line-up for Friday evening’s ABSA Currie Cup clash against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

DHL WP, the defending ABSA Currie Cup champions, will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria and Van Wyk’s inclusion is 1 of 3 changes to the starting line-up this time around.

The hard-running Van Wyk comes in for Dillyn Leyds on the right-wing, scrumhalf Godlen Masimla replaces Nic Groom, who is on Barbarians duty in London, and Alistair Vermaak starts at loosehead prop in place of the injured Oli Kebble.

Kebble’s hamstring has not recovered sufficiently from the weekend, whilst exciting talent Masimla will make his 1st ABSA Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province in the absence of both Groom and Jano Vermaak, who injured his finger against the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

Fit-again halfback Louis Schreuder is the new scrumhalf replacement and he will be joined on the bench by ABSA Currie Cup debutant JP Smith – the new prop replacement – and lock Jan de Klerk, who comes in for the injured Chris van Zyl (knee).

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Gert Smal

Gert Smal

Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.

Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.

Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.

“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.

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Dillyn Leyds

Dillyn Leyds

DHL Western Province coach John Dobson pulled no punches in the wake of his team’s humiliating 29 / 47 loss to the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

The Blue Bulls, having trailed 15 / 16 at halftime and then 15 / 26 early in the 2nd half, went on to score 5 unanswered tries in the last half-hour – culminating in a 2nd-half rout in Pretoria at the weekend.

Dobson, who admitted to being embarrassed by his team’s performance, was particularly incensed at the behaviour of some players after wing Dillyn Leyds scored an intercept try in the 45th minute.

“We scored an intercept try – as the Bulls were about to score themselves – and we celebrated like we had won the game,” an irate Dobson said.

“To me the signs were already on the wall there,” he said of the celebratory dances behind the post, adding: “That was poor behaviour by us.

“If you score a 12-phase try, fair enough. They were about to score.

“That was a 14-point turnaround – it could have been much worse.”

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