Captain Coetzee back at the helm for DHL WP U19s

Oct 14 • General News • 1706 Views • Comments Off on Captain Coetzee back at the helm for DHL WP U19s

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Fit-again No.8 Jaco Coetzee will lead the DHL Western Province Under-19 team into battle when they head to Loftus Versfeld to take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ U19s in their 2015 Absa Provincial U19 semifinal on Friday (kick-off 16h30).

Coetzee will be joined in the pack by star No.5 lock Eduard Zandberg, but the DHL WP U19s will head into this knockout match without regular vice-captain and inside centre Edrich Venter.

Venter’s place in the No.12 jersey will be taken by Justin Heunis, with head coach Nazeem Adams wisely keeping the changes to a minimum – despite his team’s disappointing loss to the EP Kings’ U19s at DHL Newlands last Friday.

“Edrich took a big bang to his nose and the bleeding has not subsided, which is a risk – especially at altitude,” Adams told the www.wprugby.com website.

“He (Venter) has been our best defender this season, but what we’re losing in defence we’re gaining in attack with Justin Heunis – who has done well for us this year when he has played – coming in at inside centre.

“The return of (captain) Jaco Coetzee, however, and (lock) Eduard Zandberg is big for us. They’ve been key members of our pack and the late loss of Daniel Maree last week was a blow for us, hence the selection of a big ball-carrier like Charl-Francois du Toit on the bench this week.”

The DHL WP U19s, the defending champions in this competition, are looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing finish to their league campaign, with Adams saying: “We’re over Friday’s loss.

“It was a disappointing performance, of course and we know that, but, either way, we would’ve played against the Blue Bulls this week, it’s just that we’re playing away instead of being at home.

“We are not looking for excuses,” added the DHL WP U19 coach.

“If you want to win this competition you need to beat the best teams, like the Bulls, and we’re approaching this match as another challenge as we did last year when we followed a similar path (having had to play an away semifinal, which we won).”

The DHL WP U19s will head into the knockout stages of the 2015 Absa Provincial Under-19 tournament having won eight matches, lost three and drawn one (from 12 starts).

They picked up seven four-try bonus points in the process as they amassed 42 log points this season, finishing just two points behind the second-placed Bulls – their opponents this weekend.

“I think this team has matured immensely over the course of 2015 and this will be a big test of our maturity,” said Adams.

“They key, for me, is that we start well. The last time we played the Bulls at Loftus we went down 20-0 after 22 minutes, which meant we had to chase the game. (And) if you chase a game you end up doing things you shouldn’t – that’s what pressure does.

“We’ve been through some tough times this season, but I believe that (those tough times) will benefit us should the going get tough on Friday.”

* The DHL WP Under-21 team, which will host the Golden Lions in their Absa Provincial U21 semifinal at City Park on Saturday (kick-off 14h00), will be announced on Thursday.

The DHL WP Under-19 team for Friday (v Blue Bulls, away) is as follows:

15. Tiaan Swanepoel
14. Duncan Saal
13. Eduan Keyter
12. Justin Heunis
11. Edwill van der Merwe
10. Aidynn Cupido
9. Paul de Wet
8. Jaco Coetzee (captain)
7. Saud Abrahams
6. Mitchell Carstens
5. Eduard Zandberg
4. Jaco Willemse
3. Michael Kumbirai
2. Jacques van Zyl
1. Ruben Terblanche


Replacements:

16. Percy Mngadi
17. Derrick Marais
18. Nathan Meilhon
19. Human Bodenstein
20. Charl-Francois du Toit
21. Herschel Jantjies
22. Wayne Smith
23. Gerard Pieterse


Referee:
 Archie Sehlako

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