CAPE TOWN - Western Province coach John Dobson has taken a “different approach” in midfield for their game against Griquas at Newlands on Saturday (5.15pm kickoff, SS1) - an approach to help Damian de Allende “stay in the Springbok frame”.
De Allende will start at inside centre and form the midfield pairing with the exciting Huw Jones at No 13, and at the team’s press conference at Newlands on Thursday, Dobson said that they’re keen to help De Allende - who has enjoyed very little game time in the green and gold this year - as well as the “national cause”.
“We took a different approach in midfield, but our view to the Bulls will probably be a different one. If this helps someone like Damian to stay in the Springbok frame, we’re keen to help (him) and help the national cause,” Dobson said.
Jones, who has mostly played at No 12 with EW Viljoen at outside centre this season, shifts to outside centre to accommodate De Allende, while that “amazing selection quandary” Dobson spoke about earlier this week was realised when he had to pick his starting wings.
For their date with Griquas, Seabelo Senatla and Werner Kok will try to cause trouble for the opposition out wide, with Ruhan Nel, who’s bagged a few Currie Cup starting berths in the blue and white hoops, adding impact off the bench.
“Those three Blitzboks (Senatla, Kok and Nel) are outstanding in every respect,” Dobson said.
At halfback, Damian Willemse will partner with Dewaldt Duvenage in the absence of Jano Vermaak, who is being rested, with Justin Phillips and Robert du Preez set to feature off the bench. And the Province coach is confident that Duvenage’s experience will relieve some pressure off Willemse.
“At this stage it’s good for Damian to have a scrumhalf who’s really experienced. So I think Damian and Dewaldt are a good combination, and maybe later on in the game Rob and Justin can be a good combination,” Dobson said.
Up front, Wilco Louw returns from the Bok set-up, while Chad Solomon will earn his first start of the Currie Cup campaign, and in the second row skipper Chris van Zyl will make his 50th appearance for WP. Loose forward Johan du Toit is also in line to make his Currie Cup bow for WP if he comes off the bench.
“We’re going into a few very tough games, and Ramone (Samuels) got injured, Dean (Muir) hasn’t played since the SuperSport (Rugby Challenge) final, so we want to build capacity at hooker,” Dobson said.
Western Province team: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain, 50th WP cap), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Johan du Toit, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Ruhan Nel.