CAPE TOWN – If Western Province’s Currie Cup game against the Pumas needed any hyping up, the fact that Siya Kolisi will make his return at Newlands on Friday would do just that.
The Springbok captain has been out since May after suffering a knee injury towards the end of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign, and he has been training with Province for the last three weeks.
While their game against the Pumas will be WP’s least glamorous one of the season, it will be a key one for them as they need to get it right in every game from here on as the second half of the competition approaches.
WP coach John Dobson yesterday confirmed that Kolisi - who looked up for it during yesterday’s training session - would play in their crunch match on Friday.
“Siya is fit to play. We’ll have to see, but now our plan with Siya is to start him. He will give the team a lot of confidence, and that’s the one thing the team needs.”
WP had a bye following their defeats to the Sharks and Golden Lions, and Dobson added that Kolisi’s presence alone will be a great addition to the team.
“When you lose a game, no matter you have deserved to win it, the change-room is like a mortuary afterwards. Just his presence will make a big difference,” Dobson said. “A lot of guys would see coming back to the Currie Cup as a downgrade, but not Siya. He’s been absolutely great.”
Dobson confirmed that SP Marais and Jean-Luc du Plessis are available for the Pumas game, although Marais will be held back for the Griquas game next week. Damian Willemse will be back for WP’s last regular-season game against the Cheetahs.
Dobson was confident that the team have addressed their issues of the last three matches.
“There’s a sense of frustration because we’ve underachieved, but we know if we get 15 (points) from the next three games we’ll be very well-positioned.
I think we’ve turned the corner, in fact I’m convinced we’ve turned the corner.”@WynonaLouw