CAPE TOWN – Western Province forward Ernst van Rhyn says Siya Kolisi’s absence will galvanise the rest of their loose-forward stocks to deliver when they meet Griquas in Kimberley on Friday.
Province secured a 45-14 victory against the Pumas at Newlands last weekend, and the fixture was the Springbok captain’s first match back since sustaining a knee injury with the Stormers back in May.
He played about 50 minutes in their second-last regular-season outing, and on Monday he rejoined the Bok mix in Pretoria along with Stormers teammates Scarra Ntubeni, Wilco Louw and Dillyn Leyds. Bulls loose forward Marco van Staden also slotted into the preparations ahead of the Rugby Championship-winning Boks’ farewell Test against Argentina at Loftus on Saturday.
Van Rhyn’s breakdown work and overall work rate has seen him produce a few promising shifts in the No 6 jersey, but he has also covered at No 7 for WP, while he can also play lock. And for the 21-year-old, it’s all about learning as much as he can at the moment, which is good, because given the Cape team’s loose-forward options, versatility can be an asset.
“We’re not sure of the team yet, but obviously Siya brings a lot of experience and gives the pack and the team quite a lot of confidence. But ja, we’ll regroup (without him), I think we have enough depth in that department. Whoever gets a chance this weekend ... I’m sure they’ll give it their best shot,” Van Rhyn said.
“I feel I’m still young and I still have a lot to learn in the different departments, so I don’t think I have a favourite position yet, I’m still learning the differences between No 6 and the 7, at this stage I just want to play.”
Van Rhyn will have a chance to do some more learning in a rather different - and difficult - environment up in Kimberley this weekend. While WP have made it clear that they are prepping for a tough encounter against the Rugby Challenge champions, Van Rhyn sounded pretty confident in the work they have put in until now.
“It will be my first trip to Kimberley. We know it’s tough there, we’ll put in the hard work and prepare well. The field is always hard and it’s dry but we’ll put in the work on the field and make sure we have good plans,” he said.
“We took some confidence out of the win this past weekend, but it doesn’t mean anything yet, we’re just taking it week by week. We’ll do our homework, and we have our own motivations and aspirations going into the match.
“We play every game to win of course, but we put ourselves under pressure with those losses against the Sharks and Lions a few weeks ago.
So we’re motivated to go up there and not only build on the past weekend’s performance, but to keep progressing as the tournament goes on.”@WynonaLouw