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