Cape Town – The resurgent Western Province team will have a mammoth task on their hands following Monday afternoon’s announcement that the Free State Cheetahs may use the services of four returning Springboks in Saturday’s Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have released Springboks Heinrich Brüssow, Ashley Johnson, Coenie Oosthuizen and Adriaan Strauss for Currie Cup duty and their presence will offer the Cheetahs a massive boost.
No WP players were released by SARU.
“It will be a great challenge for the Province team to play against the Boks, and they will enjoy playing against the best,” said Province coach Allister Coetzee, at a press conference in Bellville on Monday.
“With these players available the Cheetahs’ team have a Super Rugby look about them.
“These players will bring a lot of confidence into the Cheetahs’ ranks and that will make it helluva tough for us.
“We (Province) see it as one exciting challenge for the team.
“Already the Cheetahs are a wonderful contesting team, with a great attacking mindset. If they find it (counter-attack) is on, they’ll have a go.
“They are also competitive at the breakdown and they are particularly dangerous when playing off turn-over ball.”
Province turned in a highly-credible performance in their 35-7 win over the Bulls at Newlands last weekend but Coetzee said there are many playing aspects that the team still need to address this week.
“We showed improvement at the restarts and the set-pieces, which was pleasing,” said Coetzee.
“But we didn’t capitalise on a number of occasions and at times our turn-over ball was turned over because we failed to protect the ball adequately.
“We dominated the collisions but it would help greatly if we manage to keep ball in hand longer.”
Coetzee said the team was unlikely to change for the Cheetahs clash because he was trying to help the combinations gain momentum.
“Very few changes will help to pick up momentum and I want the players to grow as a unit,” said Coetzee.
“We also want to make sure that we continue to improve with the lessons we learn from every outing as a team.”
It is likely that the highly-rated loose forward Pieter Louw could be returning to action on Saturday, albeit from the substitutes’ bench, after a long injury lay-off.