WP bulk up for Bloem battle

Frikkie Welsh will start on the left wing while Allister Coetzee has named a five-two bench in anticipation of a Cheetahs forward onslaught.

Welsh missed last Friday’s warm-up match against the Griffons, but returns from a finger injury to replace Marcel Brache. Coetzee has made just one change to the 22 that won 29-5 in Welkom.

‘We’re prepared for a big forward battle in Bloemfontein,’ the WP coach told keo.co.za when asked about the beefy bench. ‘They’re the type of team that tries to put pressure on you up front, so it will help to have a second front row at our disposal.’

While Coetzee is attempting to build continuity, this will be a match of firsts for many of the WP combinations. Flank Rynhardt Elstadt will earn his first Currie Cup cap, and outside of Dewaldt Duvenhage, WP boast a completely different backline to the unit that started in the Super 14.

It’s set to be a tight tussle up front, and if the ball does travel to the backs, the respective kickers may look to secure field position. Coetzee said he has full faith in the kicking abilities of Duvenage and De Waal, and is looking forward to Conrad Jantjes’ first official game since he was sidelined with a broken leg in May 2009.

‘Connie was solid in last week’s outing, although he didn’t have too many opportunities,’ said Coetzee. ‘I’m sure he’ll be a bit nervous for this game, and would have liked a couple more games [than the one against the Griffons] before making his comeback.

‘He is, however, a very good player. It may take him a few weeks to find his feet, but we’re expecting him to regain his form.

‘He’s defensively solid and very good under the high ball. The Cheetahs have some very strong kickers, so it will be a good test for Connie on the Highveld.’

WP -15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Fabian Juries, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (c), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JD Moller, 18 JC Kritzinger, 19 Martin Muller, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronje.

By Jon Cardinelli