Double Bok blow for WP

Mon, 15 Oct 2012 11:38
Large liebenberg   bekker 630

Western Province will have to do without injured Springbok tight forwards Andries Bekker and Tiaan Liebenberg in their semifinal against the Lions this weekend.

Western Province will have to do without injured Springbok tight forwards Andries Bekker and Tiaan Liebenberg in their semifinal against the Lions this weekend.

Bekker injured his right toe in the first half of their victory over the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday and will see a specialist this week, but has been ruled out of the Currie Cup semifinal in Johannesburg.

Liebenberg will also miss the match after picking up a knock to his back against the Cheetahs and will also see a specialist to determine the severity of the injury.

Coach Allister Coetzee revealed that Deon Fourie will continue at openside flank, where he has played for most of the season, with Siyabonga Ntubeni likely to replace Liebenberg in the front row and De Kock Steenkamp in line to take Bekker's place at lock.

Coetzee said that he is confident that the line-out will function efficiently against the Lions, despite the issues his team had in that area when Ntubeni and Steenkamp last started against the Bulls.

"De Kock Steenkamp and Scarra Ntubeni are not strangers to this competition, they have played well and it is another opportunity for them to start again.

"I don't think it was just Scarra's throwing that was the problem, I think it was a combination of little things.

"The Lions have got a great line-out defence so they will be contesting well but we have got Eben [Etzebeth], Duane [Vermeulen], De Kock [Steenkamp] and Don Armand so we have more options than when we played the Bulls last time," he explained.

Coetzee also revealed that veteran scrumhalf Bolla Conradie had joined up at training as back-up to incumbents Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder, although he will not be eligible for selection this weekend.

He commented: "We didn't see the need to disrupt the Under-21s, and Bolla indicated that he was available to come and train with us.

"He's an experienced campaigner and he knows our systems. He is here in case of emergency - should anything happen to Nic [Groom] or Louis [Schreuder]."

Coetzee said that although the five-try victory over the Cheetahs was a vital boost ahead of the semifinal, his team know that they will have to be clinical against the Lions if they are to avoid a repeat of their semifinal defeat in Johannesburg last year.

"We will have to be better than we were against the Cheetahs - we played really well but there are still a few things that we can improve on.

"There were still some opportunities that we didn't capitalise on and going forward into this weekend's match we have to capitalise on those opportunities when you create them," he said.

The Province boss said that he s not reading too much into the Lions' 50-29 defeat to the Bulls last week as they had fielded a weakened team, and added that the defending champions are sure to pose a significant physical threat on Saturday.

"The Lions are a quality team and they will get players back for this game that didn't start against the Bulls. So we won't be looking at the scoreline there, we must look at the quality and experience in their team.

"We have to front up physically obviously. it is always a huge challenge, they have got a big pack and a sizeable backline as well so the physicality has got to be immense," he said.

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