Currie Cup

Province want to sound Currie Cup warning

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Western Province have kept team changes down to a minimum because they hope to lay down their marker as serious Currie Cup  contenders when they clash with the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

After last week’s demolition job on the reigning champions, the Sharks, Province are braced for the next hurdle and their coach Allister Coetzee is looking to build a winning momentum in their second outing.

“I was happy with our performance against the Sharks so that explains why we kept changes to a minimum,” said Coetzee.

“There is no point in rotating for the sake of rotation, particularly not at this stage of the season. “This is a tough competition and we are going out to win every time we play.

“This early in the competition it would be a lot better to build an innings than to have to play catch-up later on. So we want to carry forward our momentum.

“The Western Cape is presently in the throes of the ‘Cape of Storms’ and the wet, windy, chilly conditions which have prevailed at this week’s training sessions is hardly ideal preparation for the clash at Loftus, where conditions will be vastly different.

“We are looking forward to the drier conditions of Loftus, but we know how hard it’s going to be to come away with a win,” said Coetzee.

“We’ve been focusing on our own game and winning those little battles like dominating the set-piece, dominating the gain-line and dominating the kicking battle.

“It’s important that we get the balance right because we know what to expect from the Bulls and we have been preparing for it.
 
“We are aware that the Blue Bulls are coming off a win (against the Golden Lions) and that the youngsters who’ve come in for some of their senior guys are very capable players, but at the same time it is an opportunity for us to go out there and put up a great performance.”

The introduction of Gio Aplon for the injured fullback Joe Pietersen should add spark to Province’s counter-attacks.

Aplon thrives on setting up raids from deep options and with a vastly-improved pack of forwards to call on for support he could be the danger man on Saturday.

At the base of the scrum Dewaldt Duvenage will replace the Springbok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie who is still struggling to find his best form.

The Province backs should benefit from this change as Duvenage’s speedier service should offer them the extra yardage when launching attacks.

Duvenhage will be backed up by the hugely talented Conrad Hoffmann, a halfback in the mould of Springbok Fourie du Preez.

He could be hard to contain when he comes off the bench and he has a penchant for setting up a link between his backs and forwards.

Given the injury situation in the Province camp, the side is still far from full strength and it be another two weeks before they could welcome top-dogs like Brian Mujati (prop), Adriaan Fondse (lock), Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw (both flankers) back on the field of play.

The Western Province team to play the Blue Bulls :

Gio Aplon; Frikkie Welsh, Morgan Newman, Peter Grant, Sireli Naqelevuki; Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage; Luke Watson (captain), Pieter Louw, Pieter Myburgh, Anton van Zyl, Chris Jack, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg and Wicus Blaauw.

Reserves: Hanyani Shimange, JD Moller, De Kock Steenkamp, Deon Fourie, Conrad Hoffmann, Juan de Jongh and Tonderai Chavhanga.

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