Werner Greeff is likely to start for Vodacom Western Province on Saturday, but only if a club rugby judiciary clears him of foul play in his comeback game for Victorians versus UCT.
Greeff received two yellow cards in a game that was otherwise fruitful, producing a try for himself and a win for Victorians. Even although he has been tipped to return for WP against Griquas, the union will have to wait until Thursday to find out the results of the disciplinary hearing.
“It will be really disappointing if I am banned now, as I have been out of rugby for the past seven months and I need to play,” Greeff told keo.co.za. “I have been training with WP for awhile, but it was great to get some contact, and the good news is that there was no pain after the match.”
Should he be cleared, Greeff is likely to come into the the inside centre position. Sarel Potgieter had a nightmare on defence against the Lions, and could be dropped, which will see Corne Uys resume his role at No 13.
“I prefer to play at inside centre or at flyhalf,” Greeff said. “It’s where I began my career, so if you look at it that way, I’m back to where I started.
“I’m not really keen to play out wide anymore, I want to occupy more of a playmaker role in this side. I’ve been bulking up for some time now and am currently at 102kg. So I also feel that I’m ready to get more physically involved on the inside.”
Greeff commented on the Province back three, more or less stating that he would struggle to get game time if he was competing for a wing or fullback position.
“If you look at all of those guys, they are all full-on sprinters. I’m not exactly slow, but I’ve probably lost about 0.1 of my speed over 40m since I first started. These guys are phenomenal athletes.”
Another plus that Greeff can bring to the WP is his experience, with 11 Tests for the Springboks and 60 games for his province. The majority of the side that started against the Lions have only played in one or two Absa Currie Cups.
“I think that they lost a lot in terms of experience when De Wet [Barry] left the side. They have a few experienced heads like Luke [Watson], Gerrie [Britz] and Ross [Skeate] in the forwards, but the backs are all very young and inexperienced.
“Province have been playing some awesome rugby, and I’m keen to be a part of it. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and confidence in the team, and I’m sure that injecting some experience won’t do the side any harm as they head into the semi-finals.”
Should Greeff be suspended for his transgressions, Fijian winger Sireli Naqelevuki is the favourite to play in the centres. Other WP selections are uncertain at the moment, with Zhahier Ryland ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle and Gio Aplon struggling with a hip injury. In fact, 12 players in total are feeling the after effects of the loss in Jo’burg, with Watson, Uys, Naas Olivier, Bolla Conradie, Andries Bekker, Skeate, Selborne Boome, Francois van der Merwe, Brock Harris and JD Moller all carrying slight injuries.
Egon Seconds is is likely to get game time, and utility back Gus Theron has been training as cover for the inside positions in the backline. Pietersen has been named as the official back up to Aplon at fullback by coach Kobus van der Merwe, and we should know by the end of today’s training session whether he will play against Griquas or not.
By Jon Cardinelli