Phillips, Hendricks start for DHL WP u21s

Aug 20 • General News • 1967 Views • Comments Off on Phillips, Hendricks start for DHL WP u21s

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Scrumhalf Justin Phillips and prop Liam Hendricks have been named in the DHL Western Province Under-21 starting line-up for Saturday’s Absa Provincial Under-21 meeting with the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld (kick-off 16h40).

Phillips and Hendricks swap places with SP Ferreira and Wesley Adonis, respectively, whilst South African Under-20 hardman Jacques Vermeulen is a welcome addition to the bench this week.

Vermeulen has not featured for the Robbie Fleck-coached DHL WP Under-21 team up until now, but he has overcome a long-term groin problem ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering tussle in Pretoria.

Coach Fleck told the wprugby.com website: “Jacques has been battling this groin injury for some time now and, at one stage, it didn’t seem likely that he would play for us at all this season.

“After consulting a specialist, our medical staff deserve a lot of credit for getting him back onto the field and as a senior player – and a quality player – in this age-group I look forward to seeing how Jacques contributes to our cause.

“I’m also very excited about having Justin start at No.9, to finally see how the 8-9-10-12 axis of Rikus Bothma, Justin, Jean-Luc and Daniel du Plessis shapes up,” added Fleck. “Injury has robbed us of this opportunity so far, so I look forward to seeing how they fare as the spine in this team.”

Aside from the introduction of Vermeulen, and Phillips and Hendricks’s promotions, Fleck has not made further changes to the line-up that subdued the Cheetahs to win 22-0 in the cold and wet at DHL Newland last weekend.

“Free State came hard at us, like we knew they would, but it was most pleasing to have kept them scoreless in the opening 20-25 minutes when they came at us with everything,” he said.

“Although we led by just 3-0 at half-time, we were a lot better tactically in the second half, but, really, it was that defensive effort in the wet that set the tone for us.

“(Our defence coach) Norman Laker has been working hard on our defence and although we will make mistakes and turn over ball in our bid to play a certain way, it’s very pleasing to have a watertight defence like this to keep us ahead when it matters most.”

Fleck is well aware of the challenge that his charges face on Saturday, but he is relishing the prospect. “As a DHL Western Province player or coach this is the ultimate – to represent your province in a North-South clash of this magnitude.

“Like I keep saying this team is a work in progress, but they’re a bunch of players who are willing to learn and they execute the things we talk about – you cannot ask for more as a coach.

“I think we’re doing well in terms our selection continuity and we’re all looking forward to pitting ourselves against the Bulls in their own backyard this weekend,” concluded Fleck.

The DHL WP Under-21 team for Saturday (v Blue Bulls, away) is as follows:

15. Grant Hermanus
14. Khanyo Ngcukana
13. EW Viljoen
12. Daniel du Plessis
11. Leolin Zas
10. Jean-Luc du Plessis (vice-captain)
9. Justin Phillips
8. Rikus Bothma (captain)
7. Christo van der Merwe
6. Luke Stringer
5. David Ribbans
4. Johannes Momsen
3. Frans van Wyk
2. Chad Solomon
1. Liam Hendricks
Replacements:
16. Martin Wipplinger
17. Wesley Adonis
18. Devon Nash
19. Jacques Vermeulen
20. SP Ferreira
21. Ryno Eksteen
22. Sibahle Maxwane


Referee:
 Jaco Pretorius

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