Melck to fill Luke’s shoes

Justin Melck will play openside in the absence of Luke Watson for Saturday’s Currie Cup game in Bloemfontein.

The Province skipper’s leg injury has ruled him out for two weeks which allows Melck, who has completed his disciplinary ban, to slot in at No 6. Gerrie Britz will continue at blindside, while Robbie Diack remains at No 8. Schalk Brits will captain the side in Watson’s stead.

Andries Bekker replaces Selborne Boome in the second row, while the only other change sees Bolla Conradie back at scrumhalf. Coach Gary Gold explained these two players had earned a start after an impressive showing against the Bulls.

“We thought we’d give the old man [Boome] a break,” said Gold. “I though Andries had a very strong impact in the game last week and so he deserves a start.

“Bolla also needed some game time after a good display off the bench. He didn’t play at all overseas [with the Boks] and even though Paul Delport played well against the Bulls, I decided to give him a start. It was a tough call.”

This is Bekker’s first appearance on the run-on side since the Super 14. A lower back injury had kept him out of the final games of that campaign and he has been brought back gradually in the Currie Cup.

“Andries and Ross [Skeate] share a good understanding and form a powerful duo. We will also need Andries’s height against the Cheetahs who possess the best line-out in the country.”

The weather has been terrible in Cape Town this week making training sessions very difficult. There was a brief reprieve on Wednesday but another cold front has hit with full force. Incidentally, Wednesday was WP’s rest day meaning they have only been training in wet conditions.

“It’s not ideal, but we can use it to our advantage,” said Gold. “I’d much rather train in the wet and go and play in the dry than the other way round.”

WP – 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Dylan des Fountain, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Gerrie Britz, 6 Justin Melck, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 Schalk Brits (c), 1 JD Moller.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Selborne Boome, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Paul Delport, 22 Brent Russell.

By Jon Cardinelli