CAPE TOWN – Western Province assistant coach Dawie Snyman says the return of their Springbok players for their Currie Cup game against the Blue Bulls won’t be a disruption.
Province will take on the Bulls in their last round-robin game of the season before they head into the semi-finals, and a number of Boks will be available for the Loftus meeting.
Snyman said that the Boks, who aren’t contracted, will be available for Saturday’s game - meaning that the likes of tighthead prop Wilco Louw, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe and flyhalf Damian Willemse could all be injected into WP’s weekend line-up.
“One or two of them trained today and some who played on Saturday did not. They will be back tomorrow (today),” Snyman said at the team’s training base in Bellville yesterday.
“A lot of them have been a part of our squad. Wilco played for us against the Pumas and Griquas, Damian played against Griquas and Notshe played a few games. They are guys who are used to what we do and how we play. It is not as if they are coming in from outside and they don’t know what we’re doing.”
With the return of WP’s Boks, it will be interesting to see how head coach John Dobson rolls the dice this weekend.
Snyman also said that it’s going to be important that WP hold onto the momentum they’ve built up thanks to their five-out-of-five match stat and scintillating form they’ve been in.
“There are guys who have been performing well and it’s important to keep that momentum and continuity, so we’ll have to look at that when we select the team,” he said.
One of the selection posers Dobson will face is how, or where, to make use of Willemse. The 20-year-old flyhalf came off the bench and replaced Willie le Roux against the All Blacks at the weekend, and while Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has said that he wants to ease Willemse into Test rugby at fullback, WP’s attack coach said that it doesn’t really matter where he plays, although he believes Willemse’s “best games have come at flyhalf”.
“The Springboks have had a look at him as a fullback. He played fullback for us against Griquas and in last year’s final. But his best games in Super Rugby came at flyhalf. So we will have to see how the week goes,” Snyman said.
“Damian is a special player, so it doesn’t matter if he plays at No 10 or fullback. What is nice about someone who can play (No) 10 and 15, is that he can play as a first receiver and in the wider channels as well. So we can use him in different ways.”