John Dobson names full strength side for Currie Cup opener against Blue Bulls
CAPE TOWN – Western Province head coach John Dobson says the point-allocation system that was used during Super Rugby Unlocked could do with a review.
Every match is going to be vital during the Currie Cup, especially considering what happening during Super Rugby Unlocked, when three games were called off due to some teams returning positive Covid-19 tests.
Playing as the Stormers, the Cape side were also impacted as they had their final game (against the Sharks) cancelled, although their senior squad were Covid-free for 11 weeks. So, they - or any other team, for that matter - have every reason to want to make the most of every game they play as the next fixture isn’t guaranteed.
Province will host the Bulls at Newlands in their Currie Cup opener at Newlands tomorrow night (kickoff 7pm).
While he credited SA Rugby for how they’ve handled the situation, Dobson suggested some changes that could encourage teams to take more precaution.
‘You want to play every week and get better, especially after what we went through at Loftus (suffering a 39-6 defeat in Round Three of Super Rugby Unlocked). We were really sad and it was disruptive not to play and obviously, you lose an opportunity at those points,’ Dobson said during the team announcement press conference.
‘SA Rugby deserve a lot of credit for getting these competitions off the ground. It may have been easier to say that it is too risky and scrap it. But that would be really bad for the industry and the psyche.’
During Super Rugby Unlocked, teams were awarded two points when games were cancelled - something that needs to be looked at, Dobson explained.
‘I would personally like a review of the points allocation system. That’s my personal view. The two points shared and the draw is fair because we mustn’t have a situation where we say it’s your fault, but if one team can fulfil a fixture and the other team can’t, it’s quite tough.
‘I just think you would get even better behaviours among teams and unions if you run the risk of losing points. That’s the only thing we need to debate. The Nations Cup is going that route and the Premiership went that route with the 20-0 scores. But I also understand why it’s a draw, because you don’t want to say it’s a fault thing.
‘The Eastern Cape and Western Cape are going to go through a tough time Covid-wise. That encourages exemplary behaviour in the safety of our people...even if it’s something silly like a points attribution.’
Dobson named a full-strength side for their first Currie Cup runout.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi returns from injury and will captain the side and replace Marcel Theunissen, who has been named on the extended bench, at openside flank. Wing Seabelo Senatla will also make his comeback in the North-South clash.
Fullback Warrick Gelant and wing Angelo Davids will both make their Western Province debut, while prop Ali Vermaak and loose forward Jaco Coetzee are set to make their return from injury from the bench. Should Vermaak take to the field, it will be his first appearance since 2018 as he missed out on the 2019 season due to a neck injury.
Western Province: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Kwenzo Blose, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 David Meihuizen, 21 Chris van Zyl, 22 Jaco Coetzee, 23 Marcel Theunissen, 24 Godlen Masimla, 25 Tim Swiel, 26 Ruhan Nel.