Depleted Province prepare for Valke

Keo.co.za brought you the Vodacom Western Province training session from Bellville.

1. The weather in Bellville is overcast, yet warm, and quite a crowd of youngsters have gathered to watch the practice.

2. The players warm up in separate groups while coaches Kobus van der Merwe, Gary Gold and Jerome Paarwater talk on the halfway line. Some of the players warm up their hands by running in a line and passing to each other. A few others like Paul Delport and Egon Seconds kick a soccer ball around.

3. Van der Merwe calls his team to order by blowing the whistle. The mood has been light up to now, but it becomes quite serious when they form a huddle for a team talk.

4. Numerous poles have been driven into the ground at various points on the field. The first line of five players set off. The exercise seems to be intended to encourage running the right channels and offloading before a certain point.

5. Francois van der Merwe watches from the sideline, not sporting his WP kit. He informs keo.co.za that he won’t be playing this weekend’s match due to a shoulder injury incurred during the Cheetahs’ game. He has an appointment with a specialist later this evening.

6. Marius Joubert is doing a few running drills of his own but is not part of the practice. Justin Melck is not here because of a hamstring problem, while Ross Skeate hasn’t recovered from the ankle injury he suffered in the Vodacom Blue Bulls game. The good news is that Huia Edmonds is looking fit again.

7. Despite reports, Hanyani Shimange, De Wet Barry and Eddie Andrews are nowhere to be seen.

8. Paarwater starts to pile up the tackle bags on the other side of the field, and after awhile, the players move over to practice some mauling.

9. What is presumably the match 22 then runs a few set moves from the line-out, and later off the scrum. JD Moller has not been involved in proceedings and has now joined Van der Merwe on the sideline. He tells keo.co.za that he should play this Saturday regardless of a little niggle in the knee.

10. The team continues to run set moves, as the sun emerges and the slight breeze starts begins pick up. The coach eventually calls it a day and the squad leaves the field in good spirits.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Bellville Rugby Club