June 18, 2024

Dobson makes brave selection calls for Currie Cup final

“Best players in the starting line-up”

Sikhumbuzo Notshe was rewarded for his excellent form with a place in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks in Durban. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images),

Cape Town – Western Province coach Dobson feels one of the key aspects to beating the Sharks in Saturdays Currie Cup Final at Kings Park, is to stop the Sharks big pack of forwards from gaining momentum.

To this end, he has decided to make a few brave selection calls by bringing in a big physical player like Cobus Wiese into the starting line-up onto the flank in the place of Kobus van Dyk.

“We just felt that one of the big threats is the Sharks pack getting momentum. A lot have been said about the Du Preez bothers (Dan and Jean-Luc). But Cobus Wiese has very serious stopping power. We asked him to work on a couple of aspects of his game which he did last week. I have no doubt he is going to be a big player in the SA landscape for the next four to five years. So it’s a great opportunity for him,” said Dobson.

Damian Willemse and Huw Jones celebrates a try by Willemse (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

The WP mentor also decided to move sevens specialist Ruan Nel to the outside centre position with the Scottish international Huw Jones reverting to the 12 jersey on his inside in the midfield.

“The serendipity was when EW (Viljoen) went off last week and when Ruhan (Nel) moved to 13 he was outstanding.

“Our big concern has sometimes been our defence in the 13 channel. I think we saw how well Ruhan defended at 13 last week. I don’t think Huw Jones particularly enjoyed it last time at 13. So, it worked out well for us,” he explained.

Dobson also had to find a place for the prodigiously talented teenager Damian Willemse in the starting line-up. He decided to bring back the 19-year-old in the last line of defence with Springbok incumbent Dillyn Leyds moving back to the wing.

“It looks as if it’s going to be raining over there and they might be coming with a huge kicking game. So, having an extra fullback on is useful. Having analysed the game in Durban a few weeks ago, Damian returned the ball very well. To a certain degree we would also like to play for territory as well.

“If you have a guy like Curwin Bosch kicking against you in a final you are always going to be under pressure. Damian’s inclusion will give us greater kicking options. I think it was a case of trying to get our best players on the field,” he said of the 19-year-old.

The coach admitted that they could have forced the issue by waiting for the a bit longer for the hard-working Jaco Coetzee to recover from his head knock, but he felt Notshe was so good when he came on the previous week against the Lions in the semi-final.

“I am not sure of the wisdom with an injury like concussion of putting a guy that still under 21 into a Currie Cup Final,” he said of Coetzee.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 12: Damian Willemse of Western Province during the Currie Cup match between DHL Western Province and Vodacom Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

“So we made a proactive call (on Coetzee) and it was also based on Notshe’s excellent performance. He (Notshe) started our first game against the Cheetahs and hasn’t has a start since then. I am sure we will get rewarded for our faith in him because I think he is a really exciting player. There is a paradigm about Notshe that he is a flash player but he is a very physical player as well like we saw last week.”

The WP coach also feels Notshe through his pace can also put a lot of pressure on a guy like the Sharks dangerous young flyhalf Curwin Bosch.

“We starting with the best team we think we can put out there.  However, we still have players who can still make a serious impact off the bench, if we look at brining on Jano (Vermaak), Werner (Kok) as well as Ali Vermaak. Hopefully we still are going to finish strong.  I mean Ali was outstanding when he came on last week as well,” he added.


Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit. Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith

Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel

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