Double boost for Province
Double boost for ProvinceSHARE
Western Province received a double boost on Monday when Springbok squad discards Juan de Jongh and Siya Kolisi reported for training.
While both players will be disappointed to have missed out on travelling to Argentina with the rest of the Bok squad, Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is ecstatic at having two of his best players available for the clash with the Golden Lions in Johannesburg this weekend.
Coetzee has had his loose forward stocks decimated by injury this year, so he will be particularly excited about having Kolisi to call on, whilst De Jongh will add some vital experience to the midfield.
"It is sad to see them out of the national squad, but at the same time I'm glad to see them back in Province colours," said Coetzee.
"The Lions are the one team with a near Super Rugby side and they are, after all, the Currie Cup champions. They will be ready for us at Ellis Park, and we understand it is never easy [playing] there, so it's great to have them back."
Outside centre De Jongh and openside flanker Kolisi will provide the Province team with a significant boost in the backline and the breakdown.
Province struggled in those areas against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Wing Ederies Arendse, who sustained an ankle injury against Griquas, is still a doubtful starter for the Lions encounter.
"Ederies' ankle is still badly bruised and I want to give him as much time as possible to recover," said Coetzee. "His condition showed big improvement over the past 24-hours and it will be good for his development to get straight back into the action."
Should Arendse not be declared fit, Coetzee is likely to move fullback Gio Aplon to the wing. Fullback Joe Pietersen is still out injured and likely to be ready for action in only two weeks' time, when Province host the Blue Bulls at Newlands.
Captain Deon Fourie sat out at training on Monday as a precautionary measure to ease his ankle injury. "Deon's ankle won't be a problem and he'll be fit to play," said Coetzee.
"He'll be back in training on Tuesday."
It is likely that Province will rest first-choice scrumhalf Dewald Duvenhage.
"I was very impressed with Louis (Schreuder) and the way he slotted in. It's the one position we are able to rotate, and it will be good to have him running out again," said Coetzee.
Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has joined the Boks in Argentina, opening the way for hooker Siyabonga 'Scarra' Ntubeni to get some game time against Griquas.
"Scarra was very competitive at breakdown time and he went well in the set-piece," said Coetzee. "It's been tough for him because he's had to play behind Deon and Tiaan for some time, but he's doing well."
Also in action at Monday's training session was loose forward Nick Koster, who has been on the sidelines since he picked up a knee injury against the Reds in Australia, in April.
"Koster is still not running comfortably and he's just being eased into action again," Coetzee said.
"In about two weeks' time I'd like to see him have a run in a club game to help his match fitness."