CAPE TOWN – Western Province’s tighthead stocks is a well-documented goldmine.
They have Springbok prop Wilco Louw, rising star Carlu Sadie and promising youngster Michael Kumbirai, while Frans Malherbe is repping the Cape’s No 3 quality with the Boks as they prepare for the Rugby Championship.
It’s a position Province coach John Dobson spoke about at length during yesterday’s team announcement ahead of their Currie Cup opener against the Blue Bulls at Newlands tomorrow, while he was emphasising how crucial it is that they get the upper hand at the scrum.
“If you look at our personnel, the scrum must be something we’re looking at,” Dobson said. “We just want to make sure we get our teeth into them because sometimes in Super Rugby and last year’s Currie Cup the guys got away from us and we didn’t really get a hold of them, so that will definitely be a part of our plan.
“Both scrummagers (Louw and Sadie) are destructive tightheads rather than holding tightheads. I don’t think Wilco had his best Super Rugby season - by his own admission - but they want to push outside berths for the World Cup and bigger contracts for next year.”
Louw will start in the north-south derby, with Sadie set to take over later in the game.
On the other side of the scrum, Kwenzo Blose - another front-rower Dobson is excited about - will provide cover for Corne Fourie, an experienced campaigner who’ll make his WP debut. While the Bulls’ pack doesn’t threaten with a helluva lot of experience, they’ll no doubt be looking to call the shots at the set-pieces. And given their backline and what they can do as soon as the ball drifts out from the set-piece, stopping that will be key for WP’s promising pack.
The backline features two more debutants, with flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and wing Edwill van der Merwe will both play their first Currie Cup games.
15 SP Marais, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry.@WynonaLouw