Western Province coach John Dobson says hooker Scarra Ntubeni could be back to his best in this year’s Currie Cup. DYLAN JACK reports.
Ntubeni ― who has endured an injury-ridden couple of years ― captained the side during their pre-season game against Narbonne in Millau, scoring a brace to help Western Province to a 59-14 win.
The 27-year-old’s experience will become even more important after Dobson confirmed Ramone Samuels, the Stormers’ regular hooker during Super Rugby, picked up a potentially season-ending knee injury in the pre-season loss against Montpellier.
‘It is a serious injury,’ Dobson told reporters on Tuesday. ‘I am not sure about the exact timeframe or diagnosis. It is one of those ones that you don’t want to watch again, when you see it on the tape.
‘[Ntubeni] brought a lot on and off the field. What was nice, is towards the end of the Rugby Challenge he started to find his form again. I have no doubt he will be back to his best if he stays on the field for one or two games.
‘I think Scarra realises that he is almost in [the] last-chance saloon in terms of the injuries,’ Dobson added. ‘It is not Caster Semenya’s body that.
‘He is putting in a lot to ensure he stays as fit as he can. He was brilliant in the quarter-final of the Rugby Challenge [against the Free State XV] and unfortunately picked up a stinger with 20 minutes to go.
‘I thought it was the old Scarra that we saw on tour. Ramone went off after only five minutes against Montpellier, so for Scarra to go there, scrum and play as well as he did was pleasing. I am really excited about him.’
Samuels joins captain Chris van Zyl, expected back next week, lock Johan du Toit (knee), flank Cobus Wiese (neck) and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis (hip) on the sidelines for Western Province’s Currie Cup opener against the Free State XV.
Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix