As the Western Province team prepare to play the Lions this week, their memory will be jogged by the cruel fate the Stormers suffered just over two months ago at what is now Coca-Cola Park.
Although the Cape side won 22-13 the Lions surprised friend and foe alike by denying the in-form Stormers a fourth try for the all-important bonus point.
News 24 reports that the result was that the Stormers’ chances of reaching the Super 14 play-offs were doomed.
This week WP will be looking to emulate the Stormers by at least winning at Coca-Cola Park but their match winning form which they so splendidly recovered against Boland last week have been dealt a blow by Monday’s Springbok call-ups for flyhalf Peter Grant and prop Brian Mujati.
Both these players were at the forefront of WP’s spirited revival at Newlands last week when they ran in seven tries after dismal back-to-back performances which ended in embarrassing defeats going into that match.
WP have yet to win away this season and this fact too could weigh heavily on their minds on Saturday when they come up against virtually the same side, which did Super 14 duty, with notable exceptions of Springboks Jaque Fourie and Joe van Niekerk. In contrast, only about six WP players did duty for the Stormers that day.
Chavhanga back in training
The WP players who are missing out this week because of Springbok duty include Percy Montgomery, Conrad Jantjes, Grant, Enrico Januarie, Jean de Villiers, Luke Watson, Schalk Burger and Andries Bekker.
Grant’s absence ensures the return of Willem de Waal to the flyhalf berth while Mujati’s place will very likely go to Brok Harris. WP will have to do without another prop after Schalk Ferreira was ruled out of action after suffering concussion against Boland.
Tonderai Chavhanga returned to training on Monday after a lay-off because of concussion but he will have to compete for the leftwing berth with Joe Pietersen, who performed splendidly in his absence.
Wylie Human, Dylan des Fountain and Pietersen are all nursing minor injuries of sorts and AJ Venter was rested on Monday as part of WP’s player management programme.
Hooker Schalk Brits and scrumhalf Bolla Conradie have been dropped from the Bok squad and WP will be pleased to retain their services, more so after their telling contributions against Boland.
Troublesome groin injury
Other news from the WP camp is that hooker Hanyani Shimange has suffered another injury, just as he was about to shake off an earlier injury, and promising scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman is back in training after a troublesome groin injury.
The Lions too have their fair share of problems after poor finishing cost them dearly in their match against the Sharks last week. Lions coach Loffie Eloff made no bones about his feelings afterwards when he said his team should have won that Durban encounter.
In view of WP’s stuttering start to the Currie Cup season the Lions will feel that WP are vulnerable and that should bolster their efforts to get back on the winning track again. Saturday’s match heralds the last of the first-round Currie Cup assignments for both teams.
One Lions player WP will have to keep an eye on is the Cape Town-born Earl Rose, who played a blinder in the Super 14 clash against the Stormers.Tweet