Stellenbosch – All eyes will be on the Sharks Du Preez family in Saturday’s Currie Cup final at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday, but Western Province have two brothers of their own who are just as hungry for Currie Cup glory.
Everyone is aware of the triple threat posed by Sharks coach Robert du Preez senior, and his twin sons – loose forwards Dan and Jean-Luc, but brothers Damian Willemse (19) and Ramone Samuels (22), have the ability to be even be more influential in determining the final outcome of the match.
Willemse and Samuels might have different surnames, but they share the same parents. The blood brothers from the Strand in the Western Cape have their own aspirations and ambitions to help their beloved Province to be crowned as champions.
The former Paul Roos Gymnasium schoolboys have already shown at Super Rugby level, they undoubtedly have the natural ability to play a significant role in bringing the Currie Cup to the Mother City.
Willemse, in particular, has been described by his coaches as a “special player” with unique game-breaking abilities.
The youngster, who was still writing matric exams this time last year, has already shown that he has what it takes to perform at the highest level. He made his Super Rugby debut earlier this year even before playing his first Currie Cup game.
Not only is he blessed with dazzling footwork that can bamboozle any defence, but what makes him particularly special is the remarkable ability to turn a game on its head with moments of sheer brilliance.
Samuels showed his class when he starred for the South African A side against the French Barbarians earlier this year. The fiery hooker will also play a key role on Saturday. He will be expected to make a huge impact when he gets introduced off the bench in the second half.
And just to add spice to what is already expected to be an enthralling encounter, the Sharks coach older son, WP flyhalf Robert du Preez junior, will be highly motivated to end his last game for Province with the bragging rights of a Currie Cup winners medal.
WP coach John Dobson said after WP’s training session at the Sport Academy in Stellenbosch on Monday that lock JD Schickerling has fully recovered from his ankle injury and should be available for selection.
The WP coaching staff will be giving injured flanker Jaco Coetzee until Thursday to recover from a nasty head knock.
Coetzee suffered this misfortune in Province’s 19-5 semi-final victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands last Saturday.
Dobson said: “He (Jaco) will have to pass the usual medical protocols if he wants to be considered for the final.
“His absence will obviously be a huge blow for the team because he is a serious defender and strong ball carrier. It will really be a big setback if he is unable to play. However, we hope he will still be able to make it.
“If Jaco does not recover in time, we will most probably have to take a look at Sikhumbuzo Notshe. He made a huge impact when he came on against the Lions last week.”
Dobson also confirmed that the hard running midfielder EW Viljoen will not play in the final because of a hamstring injury. They consider Ruhan Nel and Dan du Plessis as possible options to replace Viljoen in the midfield.
A backine consisting of Jano Vermaak and Damian Willemse at halfback with Robert du Perez and Huw Jones in the midfield, seems a more mouth- watering prospect.
A back three consisting of Dillyn Leyds at fullback, with either Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel or Werner Kok on the wings might be a more potent and sensible option.
The Western Province side will be named on Thursday.