Cape Town – Western Province will be looking for their attack to match their formidable defence when they run out against the EP Kings in a Currie Cup clash at Newlands on Friday evening.
In scoring 15 tries after four rounds of matches, Province have underlined their improved ability to turn defence into attack but they have yet to impress by scoring from first-phase possession.
The loss of leftwing Seabelo Senatla is a setback, given his ability to create havoc out wide, especially when he is offered space. His replacement Pat Howard is a strong runner and it will take some effort to stop him out on the flank.
It does seem coach Allister Coetzee has given some thought to finding another Senatla-like player, naming SA Sevens player Justin Geduld on the reserves bench.
“I do not want to say too much or create too much expectation, but hopefully if everything goes to plan, Justin will get a chance to play fullback in the second half against the Kings, with Cheslin moving to the wing,” Coetzee said.
“We have Pat Howard starting for us on the wing against the Kings and we are confident he will do well as he played well against the Kings in the first round.”
Geduld, who also plays centre, is likely to make his Currie Cup debut at fullback on Friday. It will mean a reshuffle of the WP backline when Geduld comes off the substitutes' bench.
“Pat playing on the left and Kobus van Wyk playing on the right wing does give us considerable size on the wings, which is a good mix for us in the back three when Cheslin is at fullback,” said Coetzee.
“But Pat is more of an outside centre than a wing, and what we want on the wing is what Seabelo brought. Cheslin is a player who can do what Seabelo does, so it will be good if Justin proves himself as a fullback in the 40 minutes he has on the field.”
EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer named Currie Cup debutant Dwayne Jenner at inside centre in an effort to shore up the midfield defence.
Their regular number 12 Shane Gates will be on the bench.
“We decided to give Dwayne a start as he has been working hard over the past few weeks in training and hopefully he can bring a bit of physicality to our defence as well,” said Spencer.
Jenner will be partnered by Tim Whitehead while Ronnie Cooke has been moved out to the wing.
“Tim is rested and refreshed and ready to go and Ronnie gives 100 percent no matter where you put him,” Spencer said.
Spencer said he was expecting a more physical game against Western Province than was the case against the Lions last week.
“I think Western Province will bring more physicality especially in the air and up front. They will be a threat on attack and will put pressure on us defensively,” he said.
“If you have to make 250 to 260 tackles a game, it will take its toll Äthat's a lot of tackles to make. We just have to play a little bit more with ball in hand. I believe that we are fit enough, we've put in the hard work so it's not as if we're not fit enough we just have to be patient.” – Sapa