Hamilton’s coach Anton Moolman believes his team has the potential to be serious title contenders in the 2014 Cell C Community Cup competition, when they open their inaugural campaign at home this weekend.
Hammies, the oldest club in the country and 2009 National Club champions, will fly the Western Province flag this year in their first-ever appearance in the Community Cup – starting at the Stephan Oval in Green Point this Saturday. (Kick-off 16h00.)
Moolman told www.wprugby.com: “It’s not about writing down goals ahead of the Cell C Community Cup and wanting to win the tournament.
“This journey, for us, started a year and a half ago when we began working towards qualifying for the 2014 Community Cup, this is all part of the journey and we really believe that we have the ability to go all the way this season.
“We have a solid pack, we can be exciting (amongst our backs) when we have front-foot ball, and we’re a defensively sound unit.
“From a coaching point of view, I’m happy with where we are. We’ve ticked all the boxes, now it’s about putting that all into practice and performing on the field.”
Hooker Johannes ‘JG’ Giliomee will skipper Hamilton’s once again this year, one of just two survivors from the national club-winning side of 2009, the other being speedy winger Terry Jacobs.
Jacobs and wing partner Richard Lawson – back in the Cape after a long stint with Griquas – will add firepower out wide, whilst inside centre Morgan Newman brings plenty of provincial and big-game experience to the backline.
Halfbacks Charlie Purdon and Shane Vallender will be key men again, whilst Jody Burch – at No.8 – has joined from SK Walmers and will add plenty of ball-carrying ability to the Hamilton’s pack.
Denzel Riddles (prop), Stefan de Villiers (scrumhalf/utility back) and winger Craig Pheiffer are well-known names in rugby circles but new to Hamilton’s in 2014.
Moolman commented: “80% of our squad has been together for the last season or two, but guys like Jody, Denzel, Stefan and Craig will all slot in nicely and add to our playing group.
“I am particularly excited about (flyhalf) Shane Vallender who played his way into the WP Emerging team last season. This could be his year.”
The Hamilton’s team for Saturday is as follows:
15. Pierre Cronje
14. Terry Jacobs
13. Jandre du Plessis
12. Morgan Newman
11. Richard Lawson
10. Shane Vallender
9. Charlie Purdon
8. Jody Burch
7. Waldo Prinsloo
6. Gareth Rowe
5. Tian Fick
4. Hendrick Franken
3. Attie Winter
2. Johannes Giliomee (captain)
1. Christo McNish
16. Greg van Jaarsvelt
17. Denzel Riddles
18. Steff Botha
19. Neil Cleghorn
20. Stefan de Villiers
21. Craig Pheiffer
22. Iewan Bartels