Naas: It’s a whole new ball game

The Absa Currie Cup is a totally different proposition to the Vodacom Cup, admits Valke director of coaching Naas Botha.

The Brakpan-based union won the first trophy in their history this year when they beat the Wildebeest in the Vodacom Cup final, but that success hasn’t gone to Botha’s head.

“We did really well in the Vodacom Cup, but we have to take our game to another level now,” Botha told “We’ll be up against players with Super 14 experience, so the standard will be far higher.”

The Valke have made just one change to the starting XV that won the Vodacom Cup final for their game against the Bulls on Friday, with Dries van Schalkwyk replacing former SA Schools captain Sean Plaatjies at No 8.

The other new-comers to the squad, loose forward Michael Vermaak and lock Ryan Strudwick, are on the bench.

Valke team to play Blue Bulls:

15 Jan Cloete, 14 Brendan April, 13 Sam Willard, 12 Hanno Coetzee, 11 Riaan Viljoen, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 7 Dries van Schalkwyk, 6 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 5 Piet Krause (c), 4 Nico Luus, 3 Dewald Senekal, 2 Attie Pienaar, 1 Deon Strydom, Zane Killian.
Subs: 16 Piet Grobler, 17 Gavin Whittingham, 18 Ryan Strudwick, 19 Michael Vermaak, 20 Sean Plaatjies, 21 Morné Adams, 22 Pieter Spaumer.