'Freakish' end to Elstadt's season?
WP have been dealt another blow, with a recurring rib cartilage injury likely to rule Rynhardt Elstadt out for the rest of the season.
Western Province have been dealt another blow, with a recurring rib cartilage injury likely to rule Rynhardt Elstadt out for the rest of the season.
The robust utility forward has been sidelined for the last four weeks and was expected to return to action against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Friday, but after taking another knock at training on Monday his chances of playing any more Currie Cup rugby this year look quite slim.
After waking up in some discomfort on Tuesday Elstadt was sent to a specialist for a scan and may require surgery.
WP coach Allister Coetzee described as "freakish' that the bruising utility forward took a blow in the same spot that he injured about a month ago.
"It is just unfortunate," Coetzee said, adding: "He [Elstadt] was supposed to be back last week, and we waited another week to make sure he is 100 percent.
"Unfortunately he took a knock, an elbow, on the same injury and he is right back where he started. Cartilage is a difficult thing, it doesn't heal that quickly.
"It is just freakish how he got a bump on the exact same spot," Coetzee said of the mishap at training on Monday.
Elstadt went for another scan on Tuesday and will be seeing a specialist with regards with the way forward.
"When we get his [the specialist's] report, we will know if he will have to undergo surgery and what the process is going forward with the injury," Coetzee said.
That setback means that the Province coach, Coetzee, has made just one change to the starting XV for their clash with the Blue Bulls, with Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder rotating at scrumhalf.
The team's only standing flyhalf, Demetri Catrakilis, sat out training on Tuesday, but Coetzee said they were "just managing" him and he will play on Saturday.
He denied there were any injury concerns and it was just a precaution to ensure their only fit No.10 doesn't suffer a training field mishap.
Asked about the rotation at scrumhalf, Coetzee said he is happy with both players - Groom and Schreuder.
"They have been doing really well and after two games we swap the two around.
"Going forward it will give me a great understanding between the two who would be one."
The WP boss has also opted for a five-two forwards split on the bench, with loose forward JJ Gagiano replacing centre Berton Klaasen in the matchday 22.
Western Province might have beaten the Blue Bulls 42-6 in their previous Currie Cup encounter this season, but coach Coetzee warned that a far tougher Bulls outfit would be waiting for his team at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
"They're definitely a desperate side and I can tell you that they'll come out firing in what will be a tough game for us.
"The Bulls are a proud union, this is unfamiliar territory for them. We really expect nothing less than the game of the season for them. It's a big challenge and it's one we're looking forward to," he said.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 JJ Gagiano, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Pat Howard.
Date: Friday, October 5
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10, 17.10 GMT
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker, Pieter de Villiers
TMO: JC Fortuin
By Jan de Koning