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Cape Town – Western Province players were left licking their wounds and management scratching their heads on Monday as they faced numerous injuries and possible Springbok call-ups in critical positions.
Loose forward Siya Kolisi was ruled out for the rest of the season, it was revealed on Monday, after breaking his right thumb in the side's 26-23 Currie Cup loss to the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Nick Koster was also advised to sit out another week of Currie Cup rugby as he nursed a knee injury, leaving little for the coaching staff to work with ahead of their game against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
While a potential Springbok call-up was brewing for Duane Vermeulen, Province coach Alistair Coetzee hoped to have him available this weekend.
“Dwayne is really improving and his 65 minutes of game time up at altitude this past weekend was testament to that,” said Coetzee.
“He is a player who plays hard to get back to match fitness and he won't stop at this level knowing national duty is looming too.”
Rather than Coetzee digging into the Under-21 squad for possible replacements, WP medical staff gave Rynhardt Elstadt the thumbs up for the Bulls clash.
“Elstadt is back on the training field and participating with everything in him,” Coetzee said.
Although he admitted that last week's performance was a disappointing one, going down in their second defeat after three rounds of matches, Coetzee aimed for a swift turnaround ahead of the north-vs-south derby.
“We've played against the Blue Bulls before and we know what is coming, but to say that we are out of this year's competition is far too premature,” Coetzee said.
“We have not lost any of our matches by the opposition hammering us, but I see progress in the way we are playing for a Currie Cup title.” – Sapa