West­ern Prov­ince wary of the Cava­liers’ chal­lenge ahead of wet Helder­berg clash

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE DE BRUYN

TAK­ING the game to the peo­ple is some­thing the West­ern Prov­ince Rugby Union prides it­self on.

To­day it’s the turn of Helder­berg Rugby Club to host the WP team that takes on the Boland Cava­liers (3pm kick­off) for the sec­ond time this sea­son.

Be­fore that, Prov­ince played twice at City Park in Craw­ford, and at Veld­drif and Newlands.

They’ve beaten all com­ers in the inau­gu­ral Su­perS­port Rugby Chal­lenge, and have al­ready qual­i­fied for the quar­ter-fi­nals with games to spare.

Coached by John Dob­son, Prov­ince have bagged six bonus-point wins on the trot (30 points) and are run­way lead­ers in the five-team South Pool by 14 points.

The Bor­der Bull­dogs ( 16 pts) beaten badly by Prov­ince last time out, are sec­ond ahead of Boland (15) in third, who pushed Prov­ince to the limit first time round thanks to a strong sec­ond-half per­for­mance.

Whether the men from the Winelands can down their neigh­bours and im­prove their chances of mak­ing it into the round of knock-out matches re­mains to be seen.

Dob­son, is wary of the threat posed by a ri­val that has lit­tle to lose and ev­ery­thing to gain.

“We had them on the ropes with­out knock­ing them out and had to set­tle for a points vic­tory in Veldriff,” said Dob­son. “Since then, the side has im­proved big time.

“Our best rugby was played in the sec­ond half against Bor­der six days ago; the boys clicked in all facets and ran away with things.

“But to­day presents a new set of chal­lenges made more com­pli­cated with news that rain and high winds are ex­pected.

“So it could be a case of us hav­ing to play 10-man rugby rather than carry on with our ex­pan­sive game that has net­ted tries by for­wards and backs.

“That means a big job for the front eight and half­backs.

“I do hope the back seven get some ball to strut their stuff, they’ve been im­pres­sive through­out, de­spite the many changes that have been made in just about ev­ery po­si­tion.”

In the start­ing XV, there are changes to the back­line with Sev­ens star Ruhan Nel at in­side cen­tre in place of the in­jured Bran­don Thom­som. Godlen Masimla comes in at scrumhalf and Grant Her­manus is back on the right wing.

Changes to the tight five see Ruben de Vil­liers along­side Jurie van Vu­uren in the sec­ond row, while up front, tight­head Frans van Wyk and hooker Chad Solomon get an op­por­tu­nity to show­case their skill sets.

On the bench, prop Ash Wells, scrumhalf Her­schel Jan­tjies and fly­half Er­rol Jag­gers join the 23-man squad aim­ing to im­press ahead of big­ger games to come.

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