Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson is expecting a “shoot-out” on attack in Friday night’s Currie Cup clash against Griquas, which was part of the reason why Juan de Jongh will line up at outside centre.
The Springbok midfielder has operated at No 12 in the last two Rugby Championship Tests against the Wallabies and All Blacks, but was named at his more regular No 13 berth by Dobson for the must-win WP game in Kimberley (7pm kickoff).
With both teams searching for a bonus-point victory in their bid to make the semi-finals, they will be going all-out on attack, so the defensive systems will be severely tested. But while De Jongh’s ability to go low with his tackles and communicate well is highly regarded, he is also a strike-runner in the outside channel, and Dobson wants the backs to make use of both those attributes at Griqua Park.
“He’s played a lot of rugby for the franchise and province at 13. Defensively, he is absolutely brilliant at 13. He probably has the edge on Huw Jones there defensively. Huw has done quite well for us at 12, and we always see Huw’s step, but we don’t see his pass,” Dobson said.
“So, he can give Juan a bit of space on that field because it is going to be a wide game - Griquas play a wide game and we want to play with width. We have to get five (log points), four might be enough.”
WP captain Chris van Zyl is also hoping to lean on the leadership skills of De Jongh, who led the Stormers in Super Rugby this year and has been a Currie Cup-winning skipper in the past.
“The first thing I noticed in our first meeting this week is that Juan de Jongh has got his notepad and pen because he is not too big for a game against Griquas away. That is an ultimate professional and also explains to me why he is a Bok. To have him there with his leadership skills will be great,” Van Zyl said.
But the Griquas pack boast some hardened Currie Cup veterans such as former Springbok Hilton Lobberts, Steph Roberts and on the bench, Jonathan Adendorff. That is why Dobson brought back the experienced JC Janse van Rensburg at loosehead prop, while Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi will give WP real go-forward with ball-in-hand.
If the Province pack can neutralise the Griquas pack and secure front-foot ball, they will be well on their way to victory and scoring four tries.
Teams For Kimberley
Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen (captain), 14 JW Jonker, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jono van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Wandile Putuma, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Bench: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Jonathan Adendorff, 19 Jason Fraser, 20 Renier Botha, 21 Andre Swarts, 22 Eric Zana.
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Bench: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Jurie van Vuuren, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze.