Dillyn Leyds has been named at fullback for DHL Western Province’s Currie Cup meeting with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 14:h00). WP coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his starting line-up this week – from the starting XV that defeated the Pumas in Nelspruit last Friday – with four of them enforced. Leyds replaces Cheslin Kolbe (back injury) in the number 15 jersey, Pat Howard comes in for SA Sevens winger Justin Geduld (on national Sevens duty) and Manuel Carizza and Rynhardt Elstadt form a new-look lock duo in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle) and Jean Kleyn (AC Joint).
Powerhouse Elstadt will make his first start of the 2014 Currie Cup season, having sat out for the past three weeks because of suspension, and his return is a major boost in the absence of Kleyn and Botha. The only unforced changed to the WP team this week sees Nic Groom take over the number 9 jersey from Louis Schreuder, with the latter reverting to the bench after three successive starts. Joining Schreuder on the bench this week are prop Oli Kebble and lock/flank Jurie Van Vuuren (on Currie Cup debut), whilst utility back Michael Van Der Spuy (hip pointer) has been passed fit after taking a knock against the Pumas.
Coach Coetzee told the Western Province website, “Five changes is a bit more than we wanted to make, but, unfortunately, injuries have forced our hand this week. That said, we’re very fortunate to be able to call upon someone like Dillyn Leyds, who offers an attacking threat from the back. Pat Howard, Manuel Carizza and Rynhardt Elstadt are also hungry as they return to the starting team and we’re also fortunate to be able to be able to call on them after featuring – either as starters or replacements – at some point this year.” The Free State Cheetahs are in fourth position on the 2014 Currie Cup log and they need to win this weekend in order to keep their play-off chances alive. Province, meanwhile, need to ensure they keep winning – this week and next – in order to secure a second successive first-place finish on the log.
“The Free State Cheetahs have improved considerably since the start of the Absa Currie Cup season and they play a similar game to the Pumas. If you want to win the Currie Cup you need to win away from home – as we did in Nelspruit, despite the various injury disruptions,” said Coetzee.