Province ‘Babes’ please Coetzee

PUBLISHED: February 17, 2014

Four 18-year-olds, five Under-21 players and a club player. That was the make-up of the DHL Stormers team that did battle against an older and more experienced Boland Cavaliers team in Wellington on Saturday.

The hardened Bolanders ran into a 24-7 half-time lead at the Boland Stadium in sweltering weather conditions on Saturday, but not once did the young DHL Stormers selection wither – either due to the heat or the deficit they faced.

In fact, the youngsters clawed their way back into the encounter – winning the second half 17-5 and very nearly claiming a victory in the dying seconds before eventually going down 24-29.

Allister Coetzee, Western Province’s Senior Professional Coach, was in charge of the DHL Stormers selection on Saturday.

And whilst Coetzee does not like losing – which coach does? – he was more than happy with what had been achieved with the bigger picture in mind.

“We achieved what we set out to achieve,” Coetzee told www.wprugby.com.

“We needed to give certain players game time and we needed to look at some young players. Four players, who are at the WP Rugby Institute, played their first first-class match against a first-class team and I was impressed with all of them.”

The four Under-19 players – all of whom were still at school a few months ago – were scrumhalf Justin Phillips, centres Daniel du Plessis and Jarryd Sage and fullback EW Viljoen.


added: “These guys all made an impact, especially when you consider that they were playing against men… having been at school just a few months ago.

“We’re not afraid to give our younger players a chance here at WP,” explained Coetzee. “Yes, the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament is a tough place to learn but we were able to blood these youngsters in a senior game and, at the same time, give crucial game time to senior players coming from injuries, like Pat Cilliers and Tiaan Liebenberg.

“I am sure many of these youngsters will still play Under-19 and Under-21 rugby but, if called upon, they could find themselves playing Absa Currie Cup rugby later this year and that’s why it was so important to involve them in a game of this nature.

“I’ve said before that the Currie Cup tournament has two roles for us at WP rugby – of course, first and foremost we will always challenge for silverware but, secondly, it allows us to blood young talent and create depth within our squad for Super Rugby.

“The last few years has seen talent like Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Nic Groom, Demetri Catrakilis, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe emerge via the Currie Cup – we’re already heading in the right direction with our new intake.”

The curtain-raiser to the Boland-Stormers game saw a DHL Western Province XV – made up almost entirely of club players – take on a Boland XV in Wellington, with WP running out comfortable 62-0 victors.

Whilst not too much should be read into that scoreline either – as with the senior clash later on – Coetzee said: “The Vodacom Cup will continue to be an important tournament for us at Western Province.

“We will be taking 27 players with us on Super Rugby tour next month, meaning some players will miss out. But those missing out will be playing Vodacom Cup rugby and continuing to push for a place in the Super Rugby group and laying down a marker for Absa Currie Cup selection (later in the year) too.”

The DHL Stormers team (v Boland – Under-19 and U21 players in bold): 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Scott van Breda, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Kyle Lombard, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Gary van Aswegen (vice-captain), 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rohan Kitshoff, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg (captain), 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Alistair Vermaak, 17 Stephan Coetzee, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Tazz Fuzani, 20 Carel du Preez, 21 Eital Bredenkamp, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 Kurt Coleman, 24 Bernardo Botha, 25 JP Lewis, 26 Jarryd Sage, 27 Tiger Bax.