CAPE TOWN - “Iconic” hooker Scarra Ntubeni will make his 50th appearance for Western Province when they face Griquas in Kimberley on Wednesday (kick-off at 1pm).
Ntubeni, who recently returned from a long-term injury, will add some impact off the bench in Province’s third fixture of the Currie Cup season.
Coach John Dobson said he wants to ease the front-rower back into action, adding that Ntubeni brings a lot to the team.
"I want to focus on his rugby and build up his game time,” Dobson said.
“That’s what disappointed me the most about the yellow card (against the Pumas) because it was 10 minutes of rugby, but we want to increase that because he’s such an iconic figure in this team.
“We teased him a bit in the team meeting and said we weren’t sure if this was his 50th because I’m not sure we could have counted Saturday” Dobson quipped.
On a more serious note, the WP coach explained that - although he described his team to travel to Kimberley as “pretty much the strongest” - their recent defeat to the Free State Cheetahs limited their chances to “play with their selections”.
However, Dobson also said that possibly the only position that could be stronger was flyhalf - where Kurt Coleman will make his second Currie Cup appearance of the season, while adding that young flyhalf Damian Willemse’s presence would be crucial for their home game against the Bulls on Saturday.
“Putting a 19-year-old through 240 minutes of rugby in seven days might not be good for his long-term development. That aside, it’s probably the best team we could put out.”
“Griquas always keep a little pool of motivation for when they play against Province.”
“I don’t think Western Province have stumbled there in the past couple of years, but we are aware they are a dangerous beast.”
“They’re a desperate team with nought from three, so I reckon this will be the game that they target.”
On the injury front, Dobson confirmed that prop Ali Vermaak was concussed and flanker Johan du Toit was nursing a hamstring injury, while centre Dan Kriel was experiencing frequent cramping and will be rested for Saturday’s clash.
Western Province team: 15 SP Marais, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Michal Hazner, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Steph de Wit, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Michael Kumbirai, 18 Jurie van Vuuren, 19 Jaco Coetzee, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Huw Jones, 22 Damian Willemse.