CAPE TOWN - Western Province assistant coach Dawie Snyman says they have a few players returning from injury that could boost their line-up for their Currie Cup home game against the Free State Cheetahs.
Snyman confirmed that loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, utility back Craig Barry and wing Werner Kok have all successfully recovered from their respective injuries, but added that they will know on Tuesday whether or not the trio will be available for Saturday’s fixture (3pm kickoff).
“We’re actually good on that front (injuries). There are a few guys returning and we’ll know after (Tuesday) if they are available to be selected,” Snyman said.
Snyman also revealed that loose forward Rynhardt Elstadt, who’s been struggling with a rib injury, is steadily making his way back to the field.
“There’s (Sikhumbuzo) Notshe, Craig Barry, Werner Kok. We’ll know after Tuesday if Rynhardt’s alright, but it looks like he will still have a week off,” Snyman said.
Injury to SP Marais and Dillyn Leyds’ recall to the Springbok squad for their Rugby Championship tour to Australasia has left Province a bit empty in the No 15 position. But at the team’s training base in Bellville on Monday, Snyman said that Barry - who played at fullback for WP in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge - offers an option at the back, while Ruhan Nel can also easily make the shift from wing to fullback if need be.
“We’ll have a look, there’s two guys who have played there before,” Snyman said.
With Robert du Preez having recovered from injury, WP have two flyhalf options in him and Damian Willemse, but the duo were also mentioned as possible fullback options by Snyman.
“Craig played there in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and he’s returning from injury. Then there’s Ruhan Nel who’s actually played there his whole life, and then we’ve got the option of either Damian Willemse or Rob (du Preez),” Snyman said.
“So we’ll just have to see who’s training well and who’s ready to play.”
With hooker Scarra Ntubeni likely to miss the remainder of the Currie Cup due to injury, WP only have Ramone Samuels available to pack down in the middle of the front row.
But Snyman confirmed that either Chad Solomon or Dean Muir will provide back-up for Samuels this weekend.
In terms of what they expect from the Free State team, the attack coach said that they won’t fall into the trap of seeing the Cheetahs as a “weakened” side after losing a number of stalwarts to the PRO14.
“When the Cheetahs play against Western Province, they bring their A game. So for us this week it’s about what we can do, but also to be aware of the challenges that they can bring. We don’t see them as a weakened side because some of their players are playing overseas,” he said.
The Cheetahs will have some stepping up to do after they were battered by the Sharks at the weekend. But so do Province - after they were also outplayed by the Durban outfit two weeks ago, before their bye.