Western Province have made some intriguing changes to their backline for the Absa Currie Cup match against the Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday evening.
Rob Houwing reports for sport24:
Clearly in a bid to improve their pace and try-scoring potential after a fumbling collective performance by the three-quarters in the 30-22 defeat to the Blue Bulls at Loftus, coach Allister Coetzee has handed a maiden start to spring-heeled Juan de Jongh at outside centre in place of Morgan Newman, who is relegated to the bench.
There is also a starting spot for a rather more experienced whippet in the form of Springbok right wing Tonderai Chavhanga, at the expense of utility back Frikkie Welsh.
In a further change, fit-again flank Francois Louw comes straight into the XV in place of promising fetcher Pieter Myburgh, who similarly reverts to the bench.
The alterations rather fly in the face of Coetzee’s pronouncement to newspapers after the Pretoria disappointment that he would keep changes to a minimum.
But they could also be interpreted as a brave, pro-active bid to put right the wrongs of Loftus, where Province ironically – and encouragingly – dominated in the boiler room while frittering away some decent opportunities out wide.
De Jongh impressed with his electric bursts when introduced as a substitute during the campaign-opening victory over the Sharks almost a fortnight ago, although Emerging Springbok Newman may feel just a tad hard done by.
Chavhanga, of course, is a potential match-winner although he is desperately injury-prone and it is difficult not to wince when he gets to full throttle for fear the luckless player will pull a hamstring.
Some WP supporters may be disgruntled that the lumbering – certainly of late — Fijian Sireli Naqelevuki retains his place on the left wing, although he remains hard to stop in bulldozing situations near the opponents’ try-line and provides some “balance” for WP’s rather more lightweight runners.
Another of Province’s players to have been on the injury list for a fairly long spell, flank-turned-lock Hilton Lobberts, makes a return among the substitutes although the in-form starting tight five is predictably unaltered.
Western Province: Gio Aplon, Tonderai Chavhanga, Juan de Jongh, Peter Grant, Sireli Naqelevuki, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage, Luke Watson (capt), Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Anton van Zyl, Chris Jack, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Wicus Blaauw.
Reserves: Deon Fourie, JD Moller, Hilton Lobberts, Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffmann, Morgan Newman, Frikkie Welsh.Tweet