Stephen Nell , Die Burger
Cape Town – Western Province, determined to win the Currie Cup for the first time since 2001, have signed two Springboks, appointed Allister Coetzee as coach and held talks with Percy Montgomery to reach their goal.
AJ Venter and Willem de Waal will join the Cape side soon but Springbok captain John Smit and loosehead prop Ollie le Roux are not on WP’s shopping list.
Sharks stalwart Venter, whose WP contract runs from June 1 until May 31 next year, will play at lock.
“De Waal has also confirmed that he is coming,” WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd managing director Rob Wagner said on Thursday. “He has been contracted until 2010.”
“We are in discussions with Montgomery, possibly to help in the Currie Cup competition,” Wagner said.
Montgomery, who starred in the rugby World Cup tournament in France last year, could take on a role as mentor in the Currie Cup campaign, and even in the Super 14 next season.
“Our experience with Tony Brown and Federico Mendez has shown it works,” Wagner said, referring to the value of experienced players.
The union has also confirmed that Coetzee will coach the WP Currie Cup team this year.
Coetzee was an assistant to Springbok coach Jake White when South Africa won the World Cup last year and he has assisted Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus this season.
Build on Stormers’ success
White recommended last year that Coetzee should take over from him as national coach.
Coetzee now takes over as WP coach from Gary Gold who has been appointed as an assistant Springbok coach.
Coetzee wants WP to build on the success that the Stormers enjoyed in their last ten Super 14 matches.
“The Currie Cup is becoming an extension of the Super 14,” he said on Thursday.
“Good progress has been made in some areas in the Super 14. We can use it as a starting point.
“It is a tremendous honour for me to coach WP. It’s a massive opportunity.
“We want to win the Currie Cup. Much momentum has been created with the Stormers. We hope it spills over into the Currie Cup. It will also help in next year’s Super 14.”
Coetzee will have to make do without several top WP players who will be on national duty. He will therefore appreciate the reinforcements, especially at flyhalf.
Springbok Peter Grant and Isma-eel Dollie are both in the Springbok training squad and Coetzee says Dollie may also be called up to play for the Emerging Springboks in the Nations Cup tournament.
“To have someone with experience will be a bonus,” he said.
Province did not even qualify for the Currie Cup semi-finals last year but this week’s developments prove they are determined to break the long drought.
Nazeem Adams, Jacques Hanekom and Jacques Nienaber will assist Coetzee with the provincial team’s coaching.