Preview: Western Province v Sharks

Date published: September 2 2016

Western Province need to beat the Sharks in their Currie Cup on Saturday or risk playing catch-up for the rest of the competition.

With only one victory from their first three games, Province have had an underwhelming start to the season and riks falling further behind the teams at the top of the standings if they don't get things right at Newlands.

The Sharks are still unbeaten after four games and look like a settled squad, but they have struggled to stay competitive for the full 80 minutes so far this season and will be weary of that going forward. They have generally won their games in the first half so Province will need to stay in the game during the first 40 minutes or risk chasing the game.

There are two new backline players on the Province replacements bench, with Dewaldt Duvenage back in the mix for the first time since returning from France, and utility back EW Viljoen called up from DHL Western Province U21.

The versatile Duvenage will cover both scrumhalf and flyhalf, having played in both positions for the DHL Stormers in the past.

Coach John Dobson said that the team is excited to play in front of their faithful fans at DHL Newlands in what should be a hard-fought coastal derby.

"It was encouraging to get our first win of the season last week, but we know that we will have to raise our standards significantly on Saturday," he said.

Sharks coach Robert du Preez said: "The attitude and character shown by our players to get the win against the Blue Bulls will definitely give them an added boost ahead of this weekend’s match.
“Four wins from four matches is a healthy position to be in at this stage of the competition, but we know that we need to keep improving each week to retain our position at the top of the table. We are up against another quality team this weekend that are always a difficult prospect at home.  We need to stick to our structures and concentrate on our execution.”

Last time these teams met: The Sharks won 24-16 in the Currie Cup qualifying campaign. Province, who had won their opening three games of the campaign, were looking to make it four from four but the Sharks put up a strong second half performance, outscoring the visitors by two tries to one in the second stanza.

Prediction: The Sharks are the pacesetters in this year's competition while WP has struggled to get going. The men from Durban should be too strong for a struggling Province team. Sharks by 7-12.

The teams:

For Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Jurie van Vuuren, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 EW Viljoen

For Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Juan Schoeman 
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Rhyno Smith

Date: Saturday, September 3
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:10 local (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman, Jaco Kotze
TMO: Marius Jonker