Western Province may very well have to do without the services of utility back Jaco Taute when the host the Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Western Province may very well have to do without the services of utility back Jaco Taute when the host the Blue Bulls in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands.
Taute is still recovering from a rib-injury sustained against the Cheetahs a fortnight ago and was not able to participate in his team’s training this week.
Should he not make it in time for the big showdown with, Michael van der Spuy is likely to wear the number 12 jersey.
Taute, who is best known for his exploits at full-back, has been solid at inside-centre this season and there is no doubt his physicality will be missed.
The player will, however, be given until the last minute to prove his fitness.
“Jaco is still having a check-up with the doc, and we will make a call on that on Thursday,” Province assistant coach Robbie Fleck told SuperSport.
“Obviously we need to have him at 100 percent if he is going to play. You can’t risk a player and include him in your team when he is only say 80 percent fit when you are talking about a semifinal.”
With the Bulls likely to field Springbok Handre Pollard at centre, and fly-half Demetri Catrakilis’s ability to protect his channel in question, the fitness of Taute could be crucial to the Cape Town side’s ambitions.
Fleck noted that even if Taute is fit, he would not be the only player asked to defend that point of attack the Bulls like to use so often.
“Pollard is deadly in that first channel and likes to take the ball flat, so we all need to be sharp,” said Fleck.
“It is not just one person’s responsibility, it is about the system. Pollard is not the traditional Bulls flyhalf, he brings something different to their game, which makes them more dangerous.”
What adds more frustration to the situation is that Western Province is not able to field Springbok Damien de Allende who, even though he has played far less international rugby than Pollard, cannot compete because he is contracted by the national team.