- Purists are likely to again be robbed of a chance to see flyhalf prodigies Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse go pound-for-pound at stand-off.
- For last March’s clash between the Sharks and Stormers John Dobson switched Willemse to 15 from 10.
- This time around, Willemse has replaced injured fullback Warrick Gelant, with Tim Swiel filling in well at pivot.
Much like in last March’s clash between the Sharks and Stormers, purists are likely to again be robbed of a chance to see flyhalf prodigies Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse go pound-for-pound at stand-off.
Back then, on the eve of Super Rugby’s cancellation due to Covid-19, Stormers head coach John Dobson made a tactical decision to move Willemse to fullback, to allow Jean-Luc du Plessis to marshal things at pivot.
This time around, as Western Province prepare to host the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday, Willemse is likely to remain at fullback after slotting in there when Warrick Gelant got injured – an ACL tear in the Currie Cup opener against the Bulls.
Tim Swiel, however, has slotted seamlessly at No 10 in the rejigged Province line up since.
Bosch, who won’t directly face his 2017 SA Under-20 teammate Willemse, said Province will be a different proposition to the Stormers team they expected to face in Super Rugby Unlocked but didn’t due to a Covid outbreak.
"It does make a difference to the way they approach their kicking game," said Bosch on how WP could line up.
"They have changed a bit from the first time we did video analysis on them.
"But it’s going to be a nice challenge for us, something a little bit different to what we’ve faced in the past with other teams.
"With Damian at 15, it offers them another kicking threat. Obviously, Tim Swiel has been managing the game really well in their last couple of games.
"We haven’t played them, so I think the guys will be up for the challenge."
While both the Sharks and Province have qualified for the Currie Cup semi-finals, home playoff places are still up for grabs going into the seventh and final pool stage round.
That the game is being played at Newlands has added extra spice to an already steamy contest.
WP will seek victory to prolong their stay at the century-old relic, while the Sharks want to neutralise the emotions of it all and grab Dobson and Co. across the country to the Indian Ocean.
"We have spoken about the Newlands factor," said Bosch.
"We would obviously love to play in a home semi-final and that’s our plan.
"We know that Western Province are going to be very motivated. We know what we’re up against this weekend.
"They are going to be very emotional and they are going to come out firing in the first 20 minutes but we’ve got a plan for that.
"We’ve got a plan to try and control the first half of the game.
"But we are a team that sticks to our processes. Sean has said it a lot of times; we are a performance-driven team.
"We know if we perform well, the result will take care of itself."