Cape Town – Western Province have beefed up their midfield by including Jaco Taute at inside centre for their Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
Captain Juan de Jongh said Taute's presence would provide the team with momentum on attack and enhance the team's chances of penetrating the opposition defence out wide.
“Jaco is used to playing at centre and he has played there for the Boks,” he said.
“He's a big, physical number 12 and the way he plays will provide us with momentum when we have front-foot ball. He does good work at inside centre by creating space on his outside, and that's great when we're looking to take the ball out wide.”
It would be Taute's debut in Province's starting XV and De Jongh, playing at outside centre, said he was confident the combination would counter the Bulls' midfield threat.
“We're going to Loftus with a changed midfield scenario and that will be new for the Bulls,” he said.
“At this stage we don't know who the Bulls' centres are but we know they are also looking to go wide. Jaco and I have a good relationship off the field and now it's just a case of making sure that it works for us on the field.”
Taute's inclusion comes at the expense of Michael van der Spuy in the only change in the Province team, while Pat Howard replaces Taute on the bench.
Province coach Allister Coetzee said the Van der Spuy's hamstring could do with rest.
“It wouldn't help his cause to be running around on the field given the present (wet) weather conditions,” Coetzee said.
“Fortunately, Michael's hamstring is not torn and he has been advised to take a seven-day break.”
There was also a strong case to promote flyhalf Kurt Coleman to the starting line-up since he offered greater speed off the mark when supplying backline feeds. However, Coetzee stressed the need to have strong players on the replacement bench.
“We're playing at altitude this week and that can be quite testing. It will be good to call on reserves that you can rely on for impact later in the match,” he said.
“When you're playing the Bulls at Loftus, you need the efforts of all in a 22-man squad so that you are giving yourself a good chance of winning the game. We have some great impact players like Ruan Botha and Rynhardt Elstadt on the bench this week.”
De Jongh echoed Coetzee's sentiments by saying the reserves were capable of ensuring Province delivered an 80-minute performance.
“We know from past experience that you can't only start well and expect to win at Loftus. You need to deliver over the entire 80
minutes and we have a bench that can help us achieve that,” De Jongh said.
“The Bulls will still be hurting because we put 40 points on the board against them two weeks ago.”
Western Province team: Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (captain), Jaco Taute, Seabelo Senatla, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Manuel Carizza, Jean Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Stephan Coetzee, Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Brok Harris, Ruan Botha, Rynhardt Elstadt, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Pat Howard. – Sapa