Elstadt to miss Sharks match
Big flanker Rynhardt Elstadt will miss Western Province’s crucial Absa Currie Cup match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday evening.
Elstadt, who has made a big difference to WP since returning from a separate injury, struggled towards the end of the Cheetahs game at the weekend. On Monday, WP coach Allister Coetzee confirmed that the No 7 had sustained a rib injury that would rule him out for the next three weeks.
“It’s not nice to lose a player for three weeks at this stage of the competition, particularly not for us at loose-forward, where we have had so many injuries this year,” said Coetzee. “I thought that Deon Fourie, Rynhardt and Jebb Sinclair were developing into a good loose-forward combination, with Deon as the fetcher and Rynhardt as the big ball carrying flank. Now we will just have to make another plan.”
With Don Armand’s excellent form as a front lock ruling out a possibility of a switch back to his old role as a blindside flank, the alternative plan that Coetzee speaks of will probably entail a call-up to Tyrone Holmes, who has returned from injury and will be available for the Mr Price Kings Park fixture.
“It is fortunate that Tyrone is back in the mix at this stage, and we also have Tertius Danniller training again,” said Coetzee.
The coach confirmed that Danniller, another star of the successful WP age-group teams of the past few years, has been made an offer from outside of the province, but said that he was the sort of player that the Cape union/franchise would be looking to keep.
“The contracting issues are going to be cleared up in the next few weeks and you guys (the media) will be the first to know about it,” said Coetzee, who did not confirm or deny when asked if Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjes was one of the players from outside the union that he had been speaking to.
“Right now my focus is on the match against the Sharks. We need to beat them to set ourselves up for a good Currie Cup season. In the first round they beat us at home, so we need to beat them away to make up for that.”
Apart from Holmes, another player that Coetzee will have available for selection after a break for injury is Springbok fullback contender Joe Pietersen.
“Joe is back in training and ready to play, but I will have to make up my mind whether it is worth the gamble of changing the combinations for this week given that injuries have disrupted continuity a bit recently,” he said.
It sounded very much like he intends to start with Gio Aplon at fullback against the Sharks.
“Gio has knuckled down and settled well in the position now that he has been forced there by necessity so I would have to think hard about changing it for this week. Joe is the sort of player who is always fit and ready to play, even after a lay-off, but he has to get used to a few things again after being away for four matches so it may be better not to introduce him through the starting team for this match.”