Keo.co.za brings you the news from the Currie Cup.
Cheetahs change two
Naka Drotske has opted to start Riaan Smit at fullback and WP Nel at prop against the Pumas.
Nel replaces Kobus Calldo while Smit comes in for Hennie Daniller. Daniller is being rested after playing every Currie Cup game to date.
Cheetahs – 15 Riaan Smit, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip Van der Walt, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel , 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tertius Carse, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Corné Uys.
Basson’s a Bull
Bjorn Basson has signed a new deal with the Bulls which starts from 1 November.
The Springbok wing was committed to Griquas and the Cheetahs until the end of 2011 but the Bulls paid a transfer fee to get the player released from his contract. Griquas CEO Arni van Rooyen confirmed the move on Tuesday but refused to reveal the amount paid for the player.
Botha ready to rumble
Gary Botha has recovered from a head knock and will be available for the Bulls this weekend.
The Bulls skipper as well as lock Fudge Mabeta have been cleared for the game against the Leopards. Flank Deon Stegmann will undergo a fitness test on Tuesday, and could well feature in Potchefstroom.
Province lose Liebenberg
Tiaan Liebenberg will play no further part in the Currie Cup.
The WP hooker injured his ankle against the Cheetahs three weeks ago and coach Allister Coetzee is not expecting him back any time soon. Liebenberg’s injury was supposed to sideline him for six weeks, but WP management have confirmed he won’t be fit for the play-offs.
Back-up flyhalf Lionel Cronje missed last week’s game with a hamstring problem, and won’t be risked against Griquas this Friday.
Black players don’t want quotas
Sarpa chief executive Piet Heymans says Saru should consider changes to its competition structures to ensure that promising black players don’t disappear between U21 and senior level.
‘The players’ position is that they want equal opportunities. If they are good enough, they want to play. No player wants to be viewed as a quota player and everybody wants to be there on merit. Black players are not in favour of quotas. Their plea is for equal playing opportunities and game time,’ said Heymans.
‘Saru should be creative with the competition structures and see if there is a way of making the transition from junior to senior level easier. The bigger provinces should also be more willing to loan players they aren’t using to smaller provinces. It is happening already, but the system can be utilised even better.’
The Vodacom Cup will still be played next year, but an age limit may be applied from 2012 onwards. One possibility is to make it an U23 competition, while there is also a school of thought that it should make way for a super club competition.
Heymans said it is wrong for Saru to criticise the provinces without doing something about it.
‘As governing body of rugby, Saru have the ability to do something about the [transformation] issue. The question is just whether the leadership is strong enough to really do something about it.’
WP’s timing spot on
Allister Coetzee believes Western Province are building momentum at the perfect time.
Province suffered a mid-season slump when they lost three consecutive matches against the Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions.
However, with three rounds remaining before the play-offs, WP have won their last two games against the Leopards (59-17) and Pumas (62-10) comfortably and displayed the kind of form they had during their six-match winning streak at the start of the season. They are currently second on the log with 38 points.
‘Things are coming together nicely for us and it is especially important at this time of the season,’ said Coetzee. ‘This is the period when you want to be playing well and putting good performances together.
‘We face three tough games now [against Griquas, the Bulls and Sharks] before hopefully we go into the play-offs, so this is the time when we need to step up our performance.’