CAPE TOWN - “That WP backline looks better than the Springbok backline.” That was just one of the tweets posted on Tuesday after Dillyn Leyds was included in the Western Province team to face the Golden Lions at Newlands on Friday.
Social media was certainly abuzz after Leyds was released from Springbok duty after failing to make the Bok 23-man match squad for the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth.
The public’s excitement was certainly matched by WP coach John Dobson, who was thrilled to have the Stormers utility back among his charges for this crucial clash.
“It certainly was a pleasant surprise to see Dillyn at training this morning,” Dobson enthused. “He adds much so much value on and off the field. He is a real talisman.
"His skills and tactical kicking are very good, while he can also cover the flyhalf position. He represents everything this union and region stands for. Such a great human being. It’s about as big a boost as we could hope for."
Leyds is one of two changes to the WP side that beat the Bulls 45-34 last week at Newlands. The flying winger replaces the injured Bjorn Basson, while blockbusting teenager Cobus Wiese swaps with Kobus van Dyk on the flank.
Wiese played a couple of matches for the Stormers during the Super Rugby season before suffering an injury and will now make his WP debut on Saturday. Although barely out of school, Wiese has already shown he’s an immense physical presence.
Apparently that does not only hold true for the opposition after the former Upington High School learner could not contain his enthusiasm at practise on Tuesday.
“He knocked out somebody at training today. It was a tight-head prop he knocked out!
“He’s a hard piece of steel that thing. He’s a big boy. Hard, intense if I look at these young forwards here, I’m sure they are going to go on and contribute at national level. I’m very excited by him,” Dobson said.
Province certainly have an abundance of talented young loose forwards coming through the ranks. Wiese is only 19, Van Dyk 23, Johan du Toit is 21 while World Junior Rugby Player of the Year Juarno Augustus and fellow Junior Bok and Sevens star Zain Davids - both 19 - are also on WP’s books.
“Augustus is not playing at the moment. That just shows the depth we have at the moment. Juarno has a bit of work to do, and we need to go firm on his position. So, we’ll try and do that with the U-21’s, then he’ll come into the frame for Currie Cup. But that does reflect the depth we have.”
Western Province team: 15. SP Marais, 14. Seabelo Senatla, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Huw Jones, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Damian Willemse, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Cobus Wiese, 6. Jaco Coetzee, 5. JD Schickerling, 4. Chris van Zyl, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg. Bench: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. Caylib Oosthuizen, 18. Michael Kumbirai, 19. 20. Eddie Zandberg, 21. Steph de Wit, 22. Dewaldt Duvenage, 23. Dan Kriel.