Hermanus on senior debut for DHL WP

Mar 27 • General News, Vodacom Cup • 1789 Views • Comments Off on Hermanus on senior debut for DHL WP

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Former Western Province schoolboy rugby star Grant Hermanus will make his senior provincial debut when he lines up at fullback for DHL WP in Vodacom Cup action against the Sharks XV at City Park on Saturday (kick-off 16h00).

Hermanus – a mainstay for the title-winning DHL Western Province Under-19 team last year, despite still being at school – takes over the No.15 shirt from EW Viljoen in one of seven changes to the side (positional switches included) that recorded a 25-10 away win over Boland last week.

Viljoen will start in the No.14 shirt this week, with Tshotsho Mbovane lining up in the No.11 jersey.

The rest of the backline is unchanged, with the crucial halfback and centre combinations able to build on last week’s showing against Boland.

“We are very excited to give Grant Hermanus a start at fullback,” DHL Western Province coach John Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website.

“Grant has had a very good pre-season and we have worked hard on his injury rehabilitation, so we are excited to see him go.

“EW Viljoen is also being looked at as a wing and played there in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup, so he moves there this week, with Tshotsho Mbovane on the left-wing. Willy Ambaka continues with his rehab programme, but we have Mat Turner on the bench, which gives us plenty of fire-power out wide.”

Looking at selection up front, with Rayn Smid starting at No.8 and Jurie van Vuuren moving into the second row, Dobson added: “Our pack is largely the same this week.

“Dave Ribbans has a fracture in his wrists, so Jurie van Vuuren moves from flank (into lock) and it’s great to have another lock, Jan de Klerk, back (on the bench) after injury. Rayn Smid comes in at eight and Sikhumbuzo Notshe moves to six, where he has played at Absa Currie Cup level and could certainly play at Vodacom Super Rugby level too.”

DHL WP did manage four tries in their hard-fought win over the Boland Cavaliers in Caledon last Saturday, but Dobson believes the playing conditions this week will be a boost for his team against the Sharks, who beat Border by 53-0 last weekend.

Dobson said: “The one good thing about last week was that we stuck to our plan. It was a grim plan, but we had to adapt to those conditions.

“We are expecting much better conditions at one of our favourite venues, City Park (on Saturday). City Park has a great surface, with a lot of space, so we hope to play more rugby than we did last week.

“We are aware that this game will be a few steps up from last. The Sharks have a formidable playing roster and we have had some torrid encounters with them over the past few years. That said, I do think we are better prepared than maybe we were the last two seasons.”

* The Community Challenge Final between False Bay and the Paarl Region, the curtain-raiser to Saturday’s Vodacom Cup action, will get underway at 14h00 at City Park.

City Park is based on the corner of Thornton and Lawson Roads in Crawford and easily accessible from the M5 and N2 freeways. Tickets for Saturday are priced at just R5 for kids and R10 for adults.

The DHL Western Province team to face the Sharks XV (home) is as follows:

15. Grant Hermanus
14. EW Viljoen
13. Pat Howard (vice-captain)
12. Kyle Lombard
11. Tshotsho Mbovane
10. Jean-Luc du Plessis
9. Godlen Masimla
8. Rayn Smid
7. Jacques Vermeulen
6. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
5. Chris van Zyl
4. Jurie van Vuuren
3. Wilco Louw
2. Michael Willemse (captain)
1. Sti Sithole

16. Neil Rautenbach
17. Frans van Wyk
18. Luke van der Smit
19. Jan de Klerk
20. Justin Phillips
21. Ryno Eksteen
22. Mat Turner

Referee: Lesego ‘Pro’ Legoete
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Local

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