WP locked on consistency

According to forwards coach Jerome Paarwater, the Cape Town side will stick with the second row combination of Francois van der Merwe and Gerrie Britz.

Ross Skeate and Andries Bekker will once again play off the bench against the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Friday, with Britz providing cover for the loose forwards. Paarwater explained why these two locks (as well as Rob Linde and former Springbok Selborne Boome) have been kept out of the side.

Against a side like the Bulls who favour the tight game, Van der Merwe’s particular skills are invaluable. “Francois is a good lineout man, but besides that he is important to us in stopping the opposition’s rolling maul using the sack and cleaning the rucks. He is an old-fashioned four lock and that is what he offers you,” he said on wprugby.co.za.

Britz has enjoyed a revival in his career since being utilised in the second row, and his form this season has kept the specialists out.

“Gerrie does a lot in the tight loose and he has really improved lately. He is obviously a good lineout jumper too and very athletic.

“The two of them combine well and then you sit with the luxury if you want to change things a bit after halftime of having Andries and Ross at your disposal. They are the mobile guys and ideal for when you want to open the game a bit. I think it works for us at the moment. Obviously all the guys want to start, but they understand what we want to do and that it works for us.”

WP will also be up against it in the scrums, youngsters Brock Harris and JD Moller needing to improve on their performance at the Absa Stadium last week. However, Paarwater has said that this is not the be-all and the end-all of the modern game, and WP will be able to utilise other strengths to pick up the four points at Newlands.

“The Bulls definitely are going to attack us there because one of their strong points is their scrums, but that is not how we view the game,” he said.

“We want to secure quality first phase possession, but we don’t want to go out with the intention of killing the opponents in the scrums. We have other weapons we can use to win games.”

The full WP team will be announced at noon today.