Centre Piet van Zyl reclaims the captaincy after a three-week injury layoff to lead the Boland Kavaliers against the visiting Valke in an Absa Currie Cup match in Wellington on Friday night.
“Piet is a cool customer, a good thinker about the game, and the guys have a lot of respect for him,” said coach Deon Davids.
Zelim Nel writes for Superrugby that a thigh injury forced Van Zyl’s late withdrawal from Boland’s clash with the Blue Bulls in round five of the competition. Flanker Henley du Plessis led the team before succumbing to what many suspect is a career-ending injury, and the captaincy was subsequently handed down to number eight Dries van Schalkwyk.
“It’s important to have Piet back for the second half of our campaign,” admitted Davids. “You need guys who know what the big games are all about and who can take the lead. But it’s also good to know that younger guys like Dries have shown that they have the leadership qualities.”
The team features four changes to the line-up that flustered the defending champions Cheetahs last week as Van Zyl, Marnus Hugo, Whalied Heyns and Nico Esterhuyse have been named to start.
Van Zyl replaces Roses United’s Cornell Hendricks at outside centre, while the coach’s preference for Hugo sees scrumhalf Neil Papier drop to the bench. “They are both good players, but Marnus has the edge because he offers a bit more defensively.”
Flanker Frankie Horne suffered a broken thumb during the match against the Cheetahs, and his place on the blindside of the scrum is taken by Heyns, while Angelo Brinkhuys takes a seat among the replacements.
Similarly, Esterhuyse comes in for lock Frikkie Spies, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. Esterhuyse has just returned from duty with the Namibian national team against Zimbabwe.
The powerful Kavaliers’ front row remains unchanged after an excellent performance against the defending champions, while Elgar Watts provides cover for flyhalf Isma-eel Dollie from the bench.
In the first round of the competition, an exciting second-half comeback saw the Kavaliers claim their only win to date when they grounded the Valke 48-42 in Brakpan.
The Kavaliers are languishing in last place on the standings, but a second victory over the Valke will lift Boland from the base of the table and may just whet their appetite for further success.
Boland: 15-Justin Peach, 14-Danwel Demas, 13-Piet van Zyl (capt), 12-Lionel Cornelius, 11-Alvin Hugo, 10-Isma-eel Dollie, 9-Marnus Hugo, 8-Dries van Schalkwyk, 7-Whalied Heyns, 6-Zolani Mofu, 5-Bradley Mockford, 4-Nico Esterhuyse, 3-WP Nel, 2-Clemen Lewis, 1-Jean Botha.
Replacements: 16-Pieter Wium, 17-Janro van Niekerk, 18-Cecil Kemp, 19-Angelo Brinkhuys, 20-Neil Papier, 21-Kobus Meintjes, 22- Elgar Watts.Tweet