CAPE TOWN - Western Province produced some scintillating counter-attacking rugby with precious little ball to run in six tries against the Golden Lions on Friday evening. The majority of this attacking intent was produced by Man of the Match Dillyn Leyds.
However, with Cheslin Kolbe moving on to greener pastures in France and fellow Bok flyer Bjorn Basson on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, we take a closer a look at the men who, together with Leyds could be called up to provide the spark out wide for Province against the Sharks on Saturday.
The former World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year is itching to get involved in 15-man rugby. An injury has curtailed his participation thus far in the Currie Cup, but according to WP coach John Dobson, he should be ready to go very soon. Kok played a couple of games for WP last year, claiming “the game felt a bit long”, but will certainly add an extra dimension to Province’s game. Not only is his speed a valuable asset, but Kok is one of the most tenacious defenders on the World Rugby 7’s circuit and Province will certainly benefit from his intensity in the tackle and skills at the breakdown. The long golden locks reminds one of Cabous van der Westerhuizen, who kept the touchline warm for WP, Natal and the Lions during the 1990’s.
Another world championship-wining Sevens Springbok in Province’s midst, Nel could also be unleashed this week in the Shark tank. Unlike Senatla and Kok, who are more explosive runners, Nel is much more of a rangy individual who uses his long strides to get away from the opposition. Although lacking in 15-man experience, having last played for Griquas in the 2015 Currie Cup, Nel can be beneficial to Province as he can cover the fullback position too.
The former Blue Bull has struggled to cement a place in his preferred position of centre since moving south. This could, though, be the big break the 23-year-old has been yearning for. Kriel may lack the outright pace of the aforementioned two, but showed his versatility and game-awareness with two solid performances on the wing in Province’s last two matches after coming on a substitute. If he is anything like his twin brother - Springbok centre Jesse Kriel - he will certainly know how to grab an opportunity when it comes his way.
The 30-year-old is possibly an outside bet to run out at the Shark Tank on Saturday, but Sampson was a valuable member of the side that recently lifted the SuperSport Challenge Trophy. Sampson has also travelled a long road with “Dobbo” with the duo pairing up at UCT almost a decade ago. Having returned to Cape Town from stints with the Kings and the Pumas, Sampson certainly would not let Province down should he get the nod for he knows where the try-line is.