DHL Western Province has continued its build-up towards the 2015 Currie Cup through a short training camp ahead of its second pre-season friendly, this Saturday in Port Elizabeth. The WP squad, under the leadership of new head coach John Dobson and captain Juan De Jongh, departed by bus for Plettenberg Bay very early on Tuesday morning with a few stops along the way. The first stop, of course, was a breakfast at the Riversdale Spur, while also allowing the bigger guys an opportunity to stretch their legs.
The next destination for the squad was Vleesbaai, where the entire squad – management included – took part in dune races, all of which counts towards the various mini-teams’ points for the week away; overall bragging rights being up for grabs as part of the squad’s team-building exercises and pre-season fitness programme. The squad arrived in Plettenberg Bay at about 18:00 on Tuesday, before preparations began for today’s (Wednesday) double training sessions at the Plettenberg Bay Primary School fields. Wednesday’s on-field sessions started bright and early, despite the cold temperatures in Plett, with both training spells geared towards preparing for Saturday’s friendly against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Backs Dillyn Leyds (hamstring) and Johnny Kotze (ankle) did not take part in full team training on Wednesday and will be not be risked for Saturday’s match. Both, however, are expected to be fit for the start of the 2015 Currie Cup competition. Province coach John Dobson says: ‘Trips like this are always a great opportunity for the guys to bond and have a little bit of fun, but with Saturday’s match in PE there has been a big focus on rugby specifics. We will be playing a much stronger team this week, having given some younger guys a run against the Pumas in Drakenstein last weekend, and, of course, Jean De Villiers will be playing again this Saturday. We worked hard this morning and in the afternoon but have been careful to not put too much of a load on the guys. For that reason we have just one training session tomorrow, but it will be a sharp one as it’s our final full run before the weekend (captain’s run excluded).’
Province will bus to Port Elizabeth on Friday, where they will do a captain’s run at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ahead of Saturday’s match against the Kings (kick-off 19:00), which will be preceded by Provincial Under-19 and Under-21 matches between Eastern Province and Western Province at 14:00 and 16:15, respectively. Dobson says: ‘It’s a busy weekend of games. We look forward to watching and supporting our Under-19 and Under-21 teams against the Kings, who will be tough opponents for us at all levels. We were obviously very disappointed with last week’s defeat to the Pumas, but with a more experienced team this weekend we hope to address those shortcomings and take a big step forward with our pre-season preparations with the start of the Absa Currie Cup some two weeks away.’
The Western Province team, to face the Kings, will be announced on Thursday.