CAPE TOWN - Prop JC Janse van Rensburg says Western Province want their lineouts to function as well as their scrums - not only against the Free State Cheetahs, but going forward as well.
Province, who will host the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday, have gotten into quite a bit of trouble at lineout time in recent weeks. During their 21-20 loss to the Sharks two weeks ago, it was no different.
Now the loosehead wants his team to make full use of the set-piece to give their backline better attacking opportunities.
“The scrum is going quite well. The one area that we’ve identified that we need to sort out is the lineouts. At the moment we’re losing some lineouts and then we go straight into defending again,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“So if it goes better, we’ll give our backs good ball to attack. We want our lineouts to work as well as our scrums."
Janse van Rensburg couldn’t point out exactly where the problem lies when it comes to their lineouts, and blamed their recent woes on a number of factors.
“There’s a few factors - calling, supporting, throwing - so to pinpoint an individual for making mistakes would be wrong,” he said.
The 31-year-old is expected to start with tighthead Wilco Louw on Saturday, and with Scarra Ntubeni on the injury list again, the experienced front-rower is likely to pack down next to a “new” hooker sometime during the match.
Should Ramone Samuels - WP’s only available hooker with Super Rugby experience - be replaced in the second 40, Chad Solomon or Dean Muir will take over against the Free State team. And although Janse van Rensburg acknowledged that Ntubeni’s loss is a big blow for WP, he was also confident about Samuels’ ability, especially at the scrums.
“Scrumming is one of Ramone’s strengths. He is a nice big guy and he’s played Super Rugby, so for him it’s nothing new,” the prop said.
Speaking of confidence, one young man that Janse van Rensburg showed a lot of confidence in is Louw - enough confidence to tout him as a future Springbok.
“I’m the oupa, so I’m here to help the new guys. I think Wilco is definitely knocking on the Bok door,” Janse van Rensburg said.
As a mentor to WP's younger front-rankers - including the likes of Eddie Zandberg and Michael Kumbirai - Janse van Rensburg also praised Solomon and Muir for their efforts during training.
“They’re really hard workers and their scrumming is going well. They haven’t had a lot of playing time, but on the training field it’s going well,” Janse van Rensburg said.
And although he couldn’t fault their scrummaging much, Janse van Rensburg is expecting a battle at scrum time on Saturday (3pm kickoff).
“The Cheetahs are normally a very good scrumming unit, so it’ll be a challenge for us," Janse van Rensburg said.