CAPE TOWN - Craig Barry's fine form for Maties in the recent Varsity Cup has earned the former Paul Roos schoolboy a call-up to the Western Province senior team.
While Maties had to once again make do with the runners-up tag after yet another final defeat to Tuks in Pretoria, it has been another brilliant season for Barry, who topped the Varsity Cup try-scoring chart with nine touchdowns.
During his five-year stint in the maroon jersey he scored 16 tries. Now the 25-year-old utility back steps up in class when he runs out in Saturday’s SuperSport Challenge derby with hosts Boland at Velddrif (3pm kick-off).
He will wear the No11 jersey in place of the injured Khanyo Ngcukana, another young Turk who made a name for himself in the Varsity Cup representing UCT.
Barry reads the game well, can exploit weaknesses in defence and has vision and pace. He can also bring those around into play when on the counter-attack, making him a dangerous prospect.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what Craig can do for us,” said WP coach John Dobson. “He’s a young guy I worked with at Under-21 level and he impressed immensely. Now he has this test of his credentials and I expect him to deliver a telling performance.
“We want to play a 15-man brand of rugby at just about every opportunity and our back seven have been given licence to thrill. I want to see patience from them and a minimal error count, something that wasn’t quite up to scratch last week in the high-scoring victory over a gutsy Border Bulldogs.”
Barry says he’s ready for the next chapter of his rugby life: “As a boy I dreamed about playing for WP and that has now become a reality, and I can’t wait to get onto the field and play my part. Coach John has given me the green light to play what I see, which is always a positive as it allows you to play your natural game without fear. I feel like my level of performance is up where I want it to be; now it’s about doing the business.”
Province are unbeaten through two rounds having first seen off EP away and then Border on home soil, both wins netting maximum points to take their tally to 10 and top spot in their regional south pool of five teams.
Western Province: 15 Grant Hermanus, 14 Valentino Wellman, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Scott van Breda, 11 Craig Barry, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Luke Stringer, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Eital Bredenkamp (captain), 5 Eddie Zandberg, 4 Ruben de Villiers, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Wesley Adonis. Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Nyasha Tarusenga, 19 Conway Pretorius, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Ernst Stapelberg, 22 Harlon Klaasen.