Valke’s fresh five

Valke coach John Williams has made five changes to his team for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup match against Western Province in Brakpan.

U21 player Yannick Wombo will make his Currie Cup debut on the right wing in place of Brendon April. “Yannick made his Valke debut against Western Province in the Vodacom Cup and now he gets his chance at a higher level,” captain Piet Krause told keo.co.za.

On that occasion, Province won 27-21 at the Bosman Stadium, snapping a four-match winning streak by the Valke. And on Friday, it is unlikely the home team will have enough power to stop a resurgent Province outfit.

The other changes are all in the pack and include the return of fetcher flank Jacques Nieuwenhuis back after recovering from concussion. Bosman Grobler moves to the bench.

The front row gets a complete overhaul with tighthead Piet Grobler replaced by Philip Lemmer, hooker Zane Kilian switches to loosehead in place of Gavin Whittingham. Frik Venter, the first choice No 2 makes a welcome return after missing the last three games.

“We are expecting province to play a similar game to the Cheetahs so we will try and play it wide as well to counter that. We haven’t really hit the same form we had in the Vodacom Cup.”

Krause lamented the missed opportunities from the opening four rounds and said the team had been working hard to rectify the mistakes. “We graft so hard to get the the opposition’s 22 and then we are penalised and they take play back to our 22 and we have to start all over. It is very frustrating.”

“Hopefully the hard work this week will see less of that and then we can actually threaten.”

Valke team to play Western Province:

15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Yannick Wombo, 13 Sam Willard, 12 Hanno Coetzee, 11 Mpho Matsaung, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Sarel Pretorius; 8 Michael Vermaak, 7 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 6 Piet Krause (captain), 5 Nico Luus, 4 Ryan Strudwick, 3 Philip Lemmer, 2 Frik Venter, 1 Zane Kilian.
Replacements:16 Gavin Whittingham, 17 Piet Grobler, 18 Dewald Senekal, 19 Sean Plaatjies, 20 Morne Adams, 21 Bosman Grobler, 22 Riaan Hefer.

By Andrew Hollely