Province are two men down

2012-09-12 00:00

WITH U21 tighthead prop Frans Malherbe on his way to join the Springboks in New Zealand, Western Province have lost two forwards ahead of Saturday’s big Currie Cup game against the Sharks at King’s Park.

Malherbe has been summoned to New Zealand as cover for injured tightheads Jannie du Plessis (hamstring) and Pat Cilliers (elbow) who are both doubtful for Saturday’s Test against the All Blacks.

“Frans’s call-up is purely precautionary as our two tighthead props on tour are struggling with injuries,” said coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday.

“Neither Jannie nor Pat trained with us today [yesterday], but we’ve decided to give them as much time as needed to regain their fitness.”

The 21-year-old Malherbe was part of the large national squad during the England series, but wasn’t considered for selection.

“Frans has been with us before and he knows our calls and moves.

“He’s still young and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Malherbe is due to arrive in Auckland tonight.

Province have also lost their big flank Rynhardt Elstadt to a fractured rib while wing Ederies Arendse has also been ruled out.

Coach Allister Coetzee has been boosted by the return of fullback Joe Pietersen (wrist) and flank Tyrone Holmes (shoulder) from injury. Province are not reading too much into the Sharks’ loss to Griquas in Kimberley.

“I still think the Sharks could have won that game.

“This is a good Sharks side — even without their many Springboks. Their pack then [when WP lost to them in the first round] was probably weaker than the one now — they’ve got Anton Bresler back and Keegan Daniel too.

“Really, they’re a quality outfit across the board. Also, it’s an away game [in Durban], which is another challenge for us,” said Coetzee.

Province are top of the log with the Sharks and the Lions.

Assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards said it was “a massive game” for the Sharks.

“You don’t want to lose any home games in this short competition. We only have five pool fixtures left and there is huge determination in the squad to get a positive result.”

Centre Paul Jordaan (concussion) has been ruled out and he will be replaced by either Marius Joubert or Tim Whitehead.

The game kicks off at 7.10 pm.

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