Vodacom Western Province will tackle Griquas on Friday night at Newlands in a crucial Absa Currie Cup match without Springbok prop Brian Mujati. The young JC Kritzinger will be taking his place in the front row, with Schalk Ferreira coming in on the substitutes’ bench.
The official WP website reports that the inclusion of the promising under-21 stalwart Kritizinger is the only change to a WP starting line-up that is anticipating a massive Griquas forward onslaught this Friday.
WP coach Allister Coetzee initially bracketed Mujati with Kritizinger, but the Zimbabwean-born tighthead has pulled out with a bicep injury. The WP brains’ trust is expecting a tough forward onslaught from the Kimberley-based team.
“Griquas are a good team with a very good pack. We are going to have to earn our respect out there in the rucks and in the scrums,” the WP coach said.
“We won’t be short of motivation having lost the previous fixture in Kimberley. We’ve also looked at how they beat the Valke and Boland, they are not to be taken lightly.”
Coetzee has opted to give big Fijian back Sereli Naqelevuki another run at centre after he made his first appearance there for Province against the Valke last Saturday.
WP are in a close race for a semi-final berth with the Lions and the Cheetahs and need to win all three remaining games with bonus points in order to pip one of the other two contenders. That is why Coetzee opted to play his Springboks again.
“We’ve built some nice momentum over the past two weeks and the Boks have settled in nicely. But we have to get maximum points from our remaining games and we cannot take the opposition for granted,” explained the former Springboks assistant coach.
“Nobody told us the Springboks shouldn’t be playing. We do appreciate that these players have to be managed, but we have taken that into account in the structuring of our training sessions. Some players will sit out certain practices – in that way they won’t be run into the ground.”
WP travel to Boland next weekend. The final game will be staged in Cape Town against the Lions, a game that could determine the fate of the protagonists.
“Our focus is on Griquas. We can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves. We have to get the win and secure the bonus point this weekend,” said Coetzee.
“But at the same time, I’d be lying if I said we haven’t thought about the final game against the Lions. The game in Boland is not going to be easy either. We have to keep the momentum going.”
The Vodacom WP team is as follows:
15. Conrad Jantjes
14. Tonderai Chavhanga
13. Sireli Naqelevuki
12. Jean De Villiers (C)
11. Wylie Human
10. Peter Grant
9. Ricky Januarie
8. Luke Watson
7. Francois Louw
6. Schalk Burger
5. Andries Bekker
4. Adriaan Fondse
3. JC Kritzinger
2. Schalk Brits
1. Wicus Blaauw
16. Deon Fourie
17. Schalk Ferreira
18. AJ Venter
19. Nick Koster
20. Bolla Conradie
21. Joe Pietersen
22. Morgan Newman