Durbanville-Bellville star Garth April will line up at fullback for the unbeaten DHL Western Province team in their 2015 Vodacom Cup, Round Six clash against the Border Bulldogs at City Park on Saturday (kick-off 16h00).
April was voted the Young Player of the Tournament at the 2015 Community Cup, after helping his team, Durb-Bell, to silverware in Rustenberg earlier this month.
DHL WP coach John Dobson is excited about the selection of the skilful playmaker who replaces Grant Hermanus (SA Under-20) in the No.15 jersey – one of seven changes from the team that defeated the EP Kings by 19-13 last weekend.
“We are particularly thrilled about the selection of Garth, who was so good for Durb-Bell in their outstanding Community Cup campaign,” Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website.
“Garth was outstanding when at the Lions (at junior level), so we know his abilities, and Jerome Paarwater has kept a close eye on him this year – we are pleased now to be able to select him.
“(Lock) Wilhelm van der Sluys, (flank) Justin Benn and (wing) JP Lewis have all played for us at this level before and we are pleased to bring them into the mix as we will need the depth – especially with the loss of nine SA Under-20s this week.
“Obviously losing Sikhumbuzo Notshe is also a blow as he has been in sublime form (for us), but he deserves his opportunity with the DHL Stormers and I am thrilled for him. But, on the upside, with the completion of the Varsity Cup and the Community Cup we have access to more players from the club ranks – like Garth, Wilhelm, Justin and JP.
“It is also heartening to welcome (hooker) Charlie van Jaarsveld from the Club to Vodacom Programme – he has worked very hard and deserves the opportunity,” added Dobson.
DHL WP remain on top of the log in the South Section as one of just two unbeaten teams in their 2015 Vodacom Cup division – the other being Griquas – but Dobson admitted: “We weren’t satisfied with our performance against EP.
“Of course it was a good and important win against a tough side away from home, but at this stage of a competition we need to look at our performance and I was not entirely happy with it – especially our forwards’ work ethic off the ball, as well as our inability to build pressure through phases which is part of our plan.”
And looking ahead to the challenge of hosting an improved Border Bulldogs team at City Park, Dobson concluded: “Border have run the Kings and Griquas away close and have incredible fighting spirit, so this is certainly not going to be the ‘gimme’ of recent times.
“We will have to work hard and, after last week, that’s just the challenge we need.”
* 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 Border Bulldogs (home) is as follows:
15. Garth April
14. Tshotsho Mbovane
13. Kyle Lombard
12. Robert du Preez
11. JP Lewis
10. Jean-Luc du Plessis
9. SP Ferreira
8. Rayn Smid
7. Jurie van Vuuren
6. Luke van der Smit
5. Chris van Zyl (captain)
4. Jan de Klerk
3. Entienne Swanepoel
2. Neil Rautenbach
1. Sti Sithole
16. Charlton van Jaarsveld
17. Wilco Louw
18. Deacon Chowles
19. Wilhelm van der Sluys
20. Justin Benn
21. Godlen Masimla
22. Willy Ambaka
Referee: Oregopotse Rametsi
Assistant referees: Boneparte Rodney, Divan Uys