Whitehead and Brache to start against Griffons

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee will head into the Currie Cup with a new-look backline containing plenty of young talent reports rugby365.com

The Cape Town outfit has been forced into revamping the backline in the absence of Peter Grant (Japan), Joe Pietersen (France) and six Springboks – Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Ricky Januarie and Gio Aplon.

This has opened the door for several promising young players to enter into the Currie Cup fold and UCT’s Brache, who produced some eye-catching performances during the Varsity Cup, has been touted as a future star.

“Marcel [Brache] is a versatile player and since joining us has been very impressive. He has gone through a tough couple of weeks with us and it shows that the boy has got a lot of fight in him,” Coetzee told rugby365.com on Tuesday.

“I think there is something in this boy.”

Coetzee has named his side to face the Griffons on Friday for their SARU compulsory friendly before the start of the Currie Cup.

“This is a great run for us this weekend against the Griffons to practice our structures and our systems and see that we make sure that this Province side is right where we left off in Super 14,” Coetzee said.

“Currie Cup rugby is about giving opportunities to younger players, although I’m satisfied that we have still got the core of the Super 14 forward pack.

“When you get guys going to play for the Springboks and gain valuable experience at that level, then the important thing is the guys standing in for them at Currie Cup level gain experience that will help us and enhance our depth in next year’s Super 15.

“There are still young players always knocking and this is the exciting part of the Currie Cup.”

Players such as Brok Harris, Tiaan Lieberberg and Duane Vermeulen may be feeling slightly aggrieved at not being given a Springbok call up by Peter de Villiers, but Coetzee believes this will only spur them on to play harder to catch the attention of the national coach.

“As much as you feel you should have played there [with the Springboks] it’s not your right to be there. They know that other players have also performed well and keep slogging on. You just have to keep knocking and you will get the opportunity,” he said.

Western Province are boosted by Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes, who makes his return to action against the Griffons after recovering from a serious leg injury.

Coetzee also confirmed that De Kock Steenkamp and Frikkie Welsh (dislocated finger) will be returning from injury next week, while Callie Visagie (groin) is also close to full training.

The Griffons are without their Springbok Sevens star MJ Mentz, who is attending a wedding, while two Cheetahs fringe players Johan Wessels and Rudi Mathee have been included in the 22 to take on Western Province.

While the Griffons backline features former Lions centre Thabang Molefe, with Maties Varsity Cup star Charl Weideman on the bench.

Griffons: 15 Jiffy Lamprecht, 14 Darryl Coeries, 13 Werner Griesel, 12 Thabang Molefe, 11 Eddie Fredericks, 10 Jannie Myburgh, 9 Enrico Schultz, 8 Nicky Steyn (captain), 7 Marnes Briedenhann, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Sarel Louw, 2 Derick van Heerden, 1 Petros Methula.
Replacements: 16 Herschol Johnson, 17 Kevin Stevens, 18 Sewes Oosthuizen/Gert Greyling, 19 Windpomp van Rooyen, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Tertius Maarman, 22 Charl Weideman.

Western Province: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Fabian Juries, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynardt Elstadt, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements (from): Deon fourie, JD Moller, JC Kritzinger, Martin Muller, Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffmann, Lionel Cronje, Morgan Newman.

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