Fitness boost for WP ahead of final

Date published: October 20 2014

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WP’s injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup Final at Newlands against the Golden Lions are almost a thing of the past.

Western Province’s injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s Currie Cup Final at Newlands against the Golden Lions are almost a thing of the past.

Number eight Nizaam Carr, who cried off with a hip injury midway through the first half of the semi-final clash against the Blue Bulls last Saturday was walking comfortably on Monday afternoon.

Utility back Jaco Taute was running without discomfort after he was forced to miss the semi-final because of a rib injury and will be tested in a contact session on Tuesday.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said it was pleasing to read the team’s latest medical report because the wider training squad had been given a clean bill of health.

“Nemo (Carr) is feeling much better and is walking with ease,” explained Coetzee.

“We’ll have another look at him on Tuesday but there is a fair amount of optimism among the medical staff that he’ll be fit for the final.

“He took a severe blow to the hip when he was cleaned out at a loose scrum.”

Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who played for just over an hour in the semi-final after standing in for Carr, also turned in a commendable performance.

However, Coetzee did not feel that Notshe, unlike Michael van der Spuy who performed in Taute’s absence, could challenge for a run-on berth.

“Losing Carr was disruptive because he’s an integral part of the way we want to play,” added Coetzee.

“He’s had a fantastic season and he proved to be a phenomenal player. He is one of our prime ball carriers, and he’s also a link between the backs and forwards.

“Notshe has done well and as a back-up player he did what was required of him. He’s our best bet for a back-up number eight.”

With Carr set to return, Coetzee is unlikely to tamper with his loose-trio combination which included Michael Rhodes and Rynhardt Elstadt.

Although the duo played mostly in the second row this season, their move to the flanks paid handsome dividends.

“Our loose trio really functioned well and these are the guys we’ll take with us into the final,” he said.

“Rynhardt made a staggering 22 tackles and played well towards the ball.

“Michael was massive with his ball-carrying ability and both gave us added grunt up front. They are proving to be the ideal combination.”

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