Free State Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has opted not to pick Bok winger Jongi Nokwe for this weekend’s opening Currie Cup clash against Griquas, even though the flyer has been released for provincial duty.
A combination of a nightmare outing for the Boks on Nokwe’s part and some fine form in training by young Bok Sevens winger Lionel Mapoe will see the youngster start ahead of his more experienced rival. Hendro Scholtz is back to captain the team, which will feature two further debutants in the 22, scrumhalves Tertius Carse and Gerrie Odendaal, formerly of Griquas and the Valke respectively.
The Bulls will be in good shape this weekend, with a number of returning Boks available to them. Dewald Potgieter, Zane Kirchner and Wynand Olivier will all add some experience to a young side likely to be captained by hooker Derrick Küun and with Burton Francis at flyhalf, provided the latter recovers from the knee injury that kept him out of the Emerging Bok side to face the Lions.
Down in Sharks country, coach John Plumtree has certainly not ruled out the possibility of Juan Martin Hernandez joining up with the team at some stage this season, although that’s unlikely to be in tie for Saturday’s opener against Western Province. Apparently, the Argentinian magician is keen to join up with the Sharks and will be on the first plane over, provided the bean counters can thrash out a mutually acceptable deal. Don’t mess this one up, Strools!
The Sharks will also have a number of returning Boks available, with Deon Carstens, Steven Sykes, Johann Muller and Odwa Ndungane all sure to start this weekend. Ryan Kankowski is also available, but there are some concerns over his fitness, so a decision on his participation will be taken later in the week. Keegan Daniel will take over at eight if Kanko can’t play, with Justin Downey coming into the squad.
Guy Cronjé has apparently done enough to convince the coach of his credentials and will be entrusted with the flyhalf jersey against Western Province. Plumtree concedes that continuity at pivot is vital and, unlike last year, the Sharks will look to give Cronjé and extended run in the position to allow him to settle.
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Gerrie Odendaal, 8 Francois Uys, 7 Hendro Scholtz (capt), 6 Johan Wessels, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez. Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Frans Viljoen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Louis Strydom, 22 JW Jonker.Tweet