• Province focus on semis

    WP coach Allister Coetzee says they've already started preparing for the semi-finals after wrapping up top spot at the weekend, reports BRENTON CHELIN.

    Province currently hold an unassailable eight-point lead at the top of the Currie Cup standings ahead of Saturday's final round clash with the third-placed Sharks.

    As such, Coetzee finds himself in the precarious position of balancing the need for momentum with the option of giving certain players a rest ahead of the play-offs. Does he continue with the team that has performed so well throughout the season, or does he select a side with an eye to next weekend's home semi-final? Coetzee was unequivocal in his approach.

    'We've earned the right to start preparing for the semi-final,' he said. 'We'll be looking to freshen up where we can. It's a great opportunity to have a look at a couple of the fringe players. I want to put myself in the situation where I have a headache to select a team for the semi-final.'

    Coetzee spoke of the need to create healthy competition in the squad. The emphasis will be on creating depth across the board should there be any further injury disruptions as they head toward the business end of the competition.

    Players like Juan de Jongh, Michael Rhodes and Nizaam Carr have gotten through a mountain of work already this season. While Coetzee hinted that certain players might not be involved this weekend, he warned that the mindset of the players missing out was key in maintaining momentum.

    'The players who miss out this weekend don't get a time to rest. They'll be training as usual and preparing for the semi-final.

    'The aim will be to grow the confidence of the some of fringe players so that, if they're needed in the semi-final, they will be ready.

    'We've got a number of players who have been knocking on the door. Oli Kebble, Justin Ackermann, Rohan Kitshoff, they'll all come into contention.'

    Inside centre Jaco Taute is the only doubt ahead of Saturday's match, after picking up a rib injury in the victory over the Free State Cheetahs. On a positive note, hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is back in full training and will come into the selection mix.

    Photo: Chirs Rocco/BackpagePix