Vodacom WP are ravaged by injury before their Absa Currie Cup match against the Natal Sharks at Newlands on Friday evening.
wprugby.com reports that Flyhalf Willem de Waal on Monday was ruled out of Friday’s match due to a hip injury.
WP coach Allister Coetzee confirmed De Waal will see a specialist on Tuesday to assess the extent of the damage, but the initial feeling is that it could be serious. The former Cheetahs pivot will thus definitely not play against the Sharks at Newlands in the first round of the Absa Currie Cup competition.
The news is a huge blow for Province, who will be down to their fifth-choice pivot. Springbok Peter Grant is out for two months with a shoulder injury while Isma-eel Dollie is on loan to Boland. Ricardo Croy is also unavailable due to his involvement with the South Western Districts Eagles.
Coetzee was uncertain about a possible return for Dollie, who shone for Boland in their narrow defeat to the Cheetahs the past Saturday.
“I’m not sure if he would come back at this stage,” Coetzee commented. “He’s just got there. I think if he came back to WP now, he wouldn’t be able to go back.
“What it does go to show is how this would have been the perfect opportunity for him to step into the starting line-up. If he had been more patient he would have got an opportunity.”
WP under-21 flyhalves Coenie van Wyk and Matthew Rosslee alternated at 10 at the senior side’s training session on Monday. Coetzee was yet to decide which player will face the Sharks.
Apart from De Waal, centre Dylan des Fountain is out of action with a dislocated toe. One of Morgan Newman – who replaced him on Saturday – or PJ Vermeulen should fill that gap.
Exciting hooker Deon Fourie is another doubtful after splitting his upper lip against the Lions in the defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. Schalk Brits could move back to hooker, and subsequently promising 19-year-old Nick Koster could be starting at No 8.
Prop Brok Harris is also on the doubtful list with a bump on the knee, but the WP camp was hopeful that he would be ready to take his place.
Coetzee however had only positive things to say about Brits’ performances at the back of the scrum. “It becomes clearer that we need speed amongst the loose-forwards. Francois Louw played excellently. I know there are people who say Schalk doesn’t belong at No 8 but he has speed and turned over four balls for us.”
The coach admitted that he has a tough week ahead of him in the build-up to Friday night’s game against a Sharks team that’s been bolstered by three returning Springboks.
“I’ve got a lot of hard decisions to make this week, but you have to give these youngsters a chance. I still have (flyhalf) Naas Olivier available but you also want to give these guys an opportunity.
“It may seem like a gamble but look at guys like Robert Ebersohn and Nick Koster who’ve already made such an impact.”
Province are now fifth on the point’s table after their defeat in Johannesburg and need a win to stay in touch with the top four.Tweet