‘It will be a great bat­tle be­tween Wilco and Thomas’

Cape Argus - - Sport - WYNONA LOUW

WEST­ERN PROV­INCE coach John Dob­son says he’s ex­cited to see how Wilco Louw – who Dob­son says has a lot more “swag­ger” since fea­tur­ing for the Spring­boks – goes against the Sharks to­mor­row (kick­off 3pm).

Prov­ince have been boosted by the re­turn of Spring­boks Dil­lyn Leyds and Louw, and ear­lier this week the WP coach said that the duo havd added a lot to the team’s train­ing ses­sions.

Louw’s in­clu­sion will come in es­pe­cially handy at scrum time against a Dur­ban out­fit who know just how to dom­i­nate the set-piece. “I’d be even more ner­vous if he (Louw) wasn’t around.”

“I thought he was out­stand­ing for the Spring­boks last week. Him ver­sus Thomas du Toit is go­ing to be a great bat­tle. He de­scribed that as the best day of his life. And you can just feel there’s a lot more con­fi­dence and swag­ger about him now. I’m ex­cited to see that.”

And while Louw will bol­ster Prov­ince’s front row, Leyds will do the same for Prov­ince’s al­ready fine back­line.

Leyds will start on the wing in Dur­ban, while Damian Willemse oc­cu­pies the Bok’s reg­u­lar full­back spot.

In other changes to the back six, Sev­ens re­cruit Ruhan Nel will start at in­side cen­tre while Huw Jones shifts to No 13.

Of his back­line, Dob­son said: “EW (Viljoen) has played every Su­per Rugby game and all Cur­rie Cup games ex­cept the first. He’s got a cou­ple of nig­gles and the Sharks are go­ing to present a phys­i­cal threat. Ruhan Nel played very well at 12 in the Su­perS­port Chal­lenge, and we also want to give Huw Jones more space to at­tack.

Dob­son also ex­plained that given the Sharks’ style of play and the un­favourable weather con­di­tions they are ex­pect­ing in Dur­ban, hav­ing Robert du Preez at fly­half again and both Willemse and Leyds out wide would be a good plan to keep the Sharks’ kick­ing game in check.

“The Sharks are a very ter­ri­tory-based team, very good kick­ing game, and we felt that to have two full­backs at the back there is a good thing. Also, we felt that Rob did well with the ter­ri­tory last week, and for a Damian or Rob to miss out wouldn’t have been the right thing at this stage.

“Dil­lyn can help a lot with the ter­ri­tory kick­ing game. He’s a ful­back and he must re­turn there, but for this game... the field is go­ing to be very heavy, maybe we have a bit of rain and a howl­ing wind. So the more guys we have that are com­fort­able with a kick­ing game, the bet­ter.

“Ob­vi­ously Damian is the fu­ture, but we’ve got our­selves into a po­si­tion where we have to play match for match, horses for cour­ses. So that’s why we’ve gone with Rob, it might not be the same next week.

And with Du Preez set to join his fa­ther and broth­ers Jean-Luc and Dan at the Sharks, Dob­son said that the move might gal­vanise Du Preez to per­form even bet­ter.

PROPS WITH SWAG­GER: Wilco Louw of West­ern Prov­ince, left, and Thomas du Toit of the Sharks are set for a front-row con­fronta­tion.

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