With Jean de Villiers, De Wet Barry and Marius Joubert all part of the Bok squad, WP coach Kobus van Merwe has a serious midfield headache.
Although they did not fare all that well in the Super 14, there’s no denying that WP have had their heart ripped out in the loss of those three centres for the Currie Cup.
“When you lose three players of the quality of Jean, De Wet and Marius, you are always going to have a tough time,” scrumhalf and former WP captain Neil De Kock told keo.co.za. “But Gus Theron has vast experience at this level, and will bring some much needed stability to the backs, as will Egon Seconds on the wing. WP has also contracted Naas Olivier, so we have some pretty good players.”
At scrumhalf, De Kock plays in a position that does not seem to be short of contenders.
“We will be working on a rotation system, as this season is going to be very tough,” he said of his on-going rivalry with Bolla Conradie and former SA U21 captain Paul Delport.
On being able to reverse their ill-fortune in 2006, De Kock is reluctant to mouth off any predictions. “Our first priority is to make the playoffs, and we’ll take it from there.”
He also singled out the Bulls as the barometer of a team’s performance in this year’s competition.
“They have been the strongest and most consistent team over the past few years, and are really on the top of their game at the moment. We will be judging ourselves by how we fare against them in the Currie Cup.”
By Jon Cardinelli