CAPE TOWN – In the words of new Stormers coach John Dobson - in the Western Cape, you can never say the Currie Cup isn’t important.
While the rugby public’s attention now shifts to the Rugby Championship with the World Cup fast approaching, the domestic competition, which kicks off this weekend, should provide more than enough entertainment.
For Western Province fans in particular, there are a number of exciting youngsters who’ll be eager to stake a claim for Super Rugby honours next year.
Here are six of them:
1 Juarno Augustus
There’s not a Province fan out there whose rugby wishlist doesn’t include an injury-free period for the loose forward.
Since being named World Rugby Under-20 Player of the Year in 2017, Augustus is yet to grace the game with his best over an extended run at senior level, although we’ve seen enough to picture just how good his best at this level could be.
The fact that the Cape is loaded with back-row talent hasn’t helped him either, but his big ball-carrying, physicality, game awareness and that Trokkie factor is more than enough to help him stand out.
2 Jaco Coetzee
Call him Mr Breakdown if you want, but while that title does enough to get fans hyped up over his grind on the ground, deservedly so, it doesn’t quite relay the punch he packs in other areas of his game.
Coetzee has been a standout for the Stormers, so his Currie Cup campaign won’t be so much about proving himself, but rather about building on his superb form, and that should be good to watch.
3 Johan du Toit
If there’s one thing he announced in fine style in a couple of his Super Rugby stints this year, it’s that simply being known as Pieter-Steph’s younger brother just won’t do. He really stood up on a few occasions for the Stormers, and those were performances that should have done quite a bit for his confidence.
How will it aid him going forward? We’ll have to wait and see. But it surely can’t be anything bad.
4 Michael Kumbirai
Last year the young tighthead said he wanted to make the least glamorous, yet vital, position “cool”, and what better platform than a traditional Currie Cup derby against the Blue Bulls to start that cool campaign?
Back in 2017, the promising front-rower was a key member of WP’s SuperSport Challenge success in its inaugural year, and he also featured in a number of games in their Currie Cup-winning campaign.
His impressive scrummaging and ball-carrying was, well, impressive. And if the abrasive prop can deliver some more of that, he might be well on his way to tagging that “cool” label on that No 3 jersey.
5 Salmaan Moerat
The Cape’s second-row factory didn’t hold back on quality when it rolled out the former SA Schools skipper.
Moerat, who made his Super Rugby debut last year, is one who should relish his Currie Cup opportunities to build a solid case for next year’s Super Rugby proceedings.
He knows how to operate a line-out, obviously, his leadership abilities are well known and his frame is as impressive as his family’s sporting repute, but there’s more to him, and let’s hope we see all of it come the Currie Cup.
6 Edwill van der Merwe
X-factor galore ... that’s what Van der Merwe brings.
He made his Super Rugby bow for the Stormers this season, and the snippets of the pace and electric footwork he put on show at Newlands were enough to make fans look forward to more. Not that it was any revelation, though, his Varsity Cup productions did enough ... on many, many occasions.@WynonaLouw