Western Province may have paid a dear price for their impressive 35-17 win over the defending champion Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup Round 10 match at the weekend, as the casualty count mounts.
Stand-in captain Gcobani Bobo could well be out for the rest of the season – while Province also wait for news on other injured stars like props Brian Mujati, Wicus Blaauw and Brock Harris and lock Adriaan Fondse.
Peter Murison writes for Rugby 365 that then they are also still awaiting the result of star flank Schalk Burger’s disciplinary hearing – scheduled for Tuesday.
This enormous casualty count faced coach Alistair Coetzee as his team started preparations for their Round 11 encounter with the Falcons at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee confirmed on Monday that the outside centre, Bobo, might have to have surgery on his injured shoulder and will definitely miss the clash with the Falcons.
Coetzee, speaking after his sides practice in Bellville, said that he was very concerned about the recovery of the man who captained the side in the absence of Jean de Villiers, but that he would wait on the report from the specialists before making a call on the Bok.
The initial prognoses on Bob’s injury-enforced absence ranged from a couple of weeks to the rest of the season.
However, the WP coach suggested he would be surprised to see the 29-year-old back this season.
“Bobes [Bobo] is perhaps the biggest concern,” Coetzee said.
“He’s had this shoulder injury, which he obviously picked up before he came to Province, similar to Peter Grant.
“After he’s seen the specialist we will decide on the way forward,” Coetzee added, confirming that there will be a change to his midfield as Bobo will not face the Falcons.
“We got to make sure that Bobes will have a great pre-season and also ready for the [Super 14] season next year.”
While it will no doubt be a big loss to the Cape side, the coach said he was happy with the options he had open to him with regard to a replacement.
“Look we got Morgan Newman, Sireli [Naqelevuki, who could shift in from the wing] and we got Percy Montgomery,” he said, adding that they have “a couple of options” they are looking at.
It is not just in the backline where Coetzee may be forced to tinker with his team.
Veteran Springbok utility forward AJ Venter appears set for a second row role, with both regular locks Adriaan Fondse and Ross Skeate missing out on training on Monday.
While Fondse – who is struggling with a chest infection – is expected to be ready for the weekend’s clash, Skeate is scheduled for his specialist appointment on Tuesday.
While the front row trio of Blaauw, Mujati and Harris also did not take part in the light run-out, only Harris appears likely to miss the upcoming fixture.
“Wicus Blaauw should be fine, it was a precaution in his case. He was just cramping a lot over the weekend,” Coetzee said.
“Brockie [Harris] is still out for the weekend, as he is still in his ‘moonboot’. I think it will come off at the end of this week,” the coach added.
Mujati is believed to still be suffering with a cold, but should be available.
Burger will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, after being red-carded in the match against the Cheetahs for a swinging arm high tackle on Springbok teammate and Cheetahs captain Juan Smith. Earlier in the game the fiery flank was also yellow carded for pulling down an opponent in the line-out, regarded as dangerous play.
“I’m just holding thumps that we can play Schalk this weekend,” Coetzee said, adding: “The first yellow card, in my opinion, was not a yellow card at all. So it was harsh.”
With or without Burger, Coetzee will still face a couple tricky selection issues, but is confident that his team will be ready for another must-win match-up at Newlands.Tweet