DHL Western Province Under-19 coach Nazeem Adams has challenged his unbeaten team to ‘back up’ last week’s win over the Blue Bulls, as they get set to host the Golden Lions Under-19s at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 12h45).
Win or lose, the DHL WP juniors are set to finish the first half of the 2014 Absa Provincial Under-19 season in first place, having beaten the star-studded Blue Bulls Under-19s by 16-11 last weekend.
And it’s last Saturday’s result that Adams wants his team to “back up” come this weekend.
The DHL WP Under-19 coach told www.wprugby.com: “It’s a home game for us, which is always non-negotiable (in terms of winning).
“But, crucially, I want the guys to back up the win against the Blue Bulls with a good (return) performance this weekend. After our good (away) win over the Sharks, we were off the pace the following week against Eastern Province and I don’t want that to happen this week.
“Ignore the Lions’ standing on the log, they will be hurting after losing at home to EP last weekend and they want to get back into the Top Four immediately.”
When asked about his team’s impressive form so far, leaving them as the only unbeaten team in the competition, Adams warned that the next few weeks would be the most crucial in their campaign.
“We need to keep momentum,” explained the WP U19 boss, “and we need to keep our players fit and hungry for the remainder of the season.”
In terms of fitness this week, star outside centre Jarryd Sage is out with a slight ankle niggle, but fit-again scrumhalf Justin Phillips makes a welcome return to the matchday squad.
“Losing Jarryd is a blow,” admitted Adams, “but having someone like Ryan Oosthuizen to replace him is immense.
“Jarryd could be out for a week or two, but Ryan is hungry to prove a selection point and, of course, it’s great having Justin Phillips back. We back Justin and we’re glad he’s fit and able to take his place in the team once again.”
* Saturday’s programme at DHL Newlands gets underway at 12h45, with the WP Under-19s in action against the Golden Lions U19s, before the WP Under-21 team takes on the Lions U21s at 14h45.
Of course, the main game this weekend is between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions – a top-of-the-table Absa Currie Cup, Round Three clash – at 17h05.
Tickets for Saturday are priced from just R35 (for standing), whilst seating prices range between R55, R65, R75 and R95 and can be purchased right now from http://wprugby.ticketpros.co.za.
Match tickets can also be bought directly from the DHL Newlands Box Office (opening times this week: Tuesday-Friday, 09h00-16h00 and Saturday, 09h00-17h30), or from selected Western Cape Spar stores and PostNet branches (nationwide).
The DHL WP Under-19 team for Saturday (v Golden Lions) is as follows:
15. Adriaan Carelse 14. Dewald Naude 13. Ryan Oosthuizen 12. Daniel du Plessis 11. Grant Hermanus 10. Ernst Stapelberg 9. Justin Phillips 8. Rikus Bothma (captain) 7. Luke Stringer 6. Charlton Jonas 5. Floris Pelser 4. Johan Momsen 3. Francois van der Merwe 2. Paul-Martin Wipplinger 1. Kyle Whyte
Replacements: 16. Hanno Snyman 17. Mihlali Mtongana 18. Lebohang Mdakane 19. Ruan du Preez 20. Dian Koen 21. Damian Stevens 22. Brandon Thomson 23. Joel Heugh
Referee: Tahla Ntshakaza