Photo: Werner Nysschen Photography
A 24-man DHL Western Province squad will leave Cape Town for London on Thursday, as the 2014 Absa Currie Cup champions get set to take on top English club Saracens in the Sanlam Private Investments Challenge this coming weekend.
DHL WP won their second Absa Currie Cup title in three years less than two weeks ago and they are now preparing to face up to last season’s European Cup and Premiership runners-up on their home turf at Allianz Park in North London on Sunday.
Sixteen members of the victorious DHL WP matchday squad from two Saturdays ago will make the trip to take on Saracens, with new forward signings Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch and Wilco Louw joining the likes of Oli Kebble, Jurie van Vuuren, Dillyn Leyds, Pat Howard and EW Viljoen in the selection mix.
Squad captain Juan de Jongh and forward Michael Rhodes are currently on tour in the United Kingdom with the Barbarians and will join up with their teammates in London later this week, but Springbok tourists Nizaam Carr and Seabelo Senatla are currently abroad with the senior national squad and thus not available for this trip.
Another name missing from the touring group is fleet-footed fullback Cheslin Kolbe. Kolbe is being rested as part of an agreement with SA Rugby, which will see him represent his country at two upcoming IRB Sevens tournaments – in Dubai and Port Elizabeth in early December – before rejoining the DHL Stormers for a full pre-season campaign ahead of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Looking ahead to his team’s departure, DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “This really is an exciting opportunity for WP Rugby, to take the DHL Western Province brand to London and for our players to experience northern hemisphere weather conditions at this time of the year, different law interpretations and, of course, to go up against different (overseas) opposition.
“It’s the perfect way to end off a good year for DHL Western Province and we’re all looking forward to Sunday’s match against a very good Saracens team, which, over the past few seasons, has consistently been one of the top performing outfits in England and Europe.”
Saracens will host DHL WP at Allianz Park on Sunday, November 9 (kick-off 13h00 UK time; 15h00 SA time). The match will be televised live on SuperSport One.
The DHL Western Province matchday squad for Sunday’s encounter will be announced on Friday (November 7).
DHL WESTERN PROVINCE TOURING SQUAD (24):
Juan de Jongh (captain)
Michael van der Spuy
Jurie van Vuuren
Kobus van Wyk
Gert Smal – Director of Rugby
Allister Coetzee – Head Coach
Robbie Fleck – Backline Coach
Matthew Proudfoot – Forwards Coach
Greg Hechter – Assistant Coach
Chippie Solomon – Team Manager
Dr Jason Suter – Team Doctor
Dr Henning Gericke – High Performance Coach
Vlok Cilliers – Kicking Coach
Wayne Hector – Physiotherapist
Stephan du Toit – Strength & Conditioning
Human Kriek – Technical Analyst
Greg Daniels – Masseur