How Province are handling Christmas conundrum

Western Province will be giving their players a day off on the 25th ahead of their Boxing Day clash against Griquas at Newlands on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.

The Province squad and coaches reassembled this week after taking time off during their bye week to spend with their families, ahead of a busy festive schedule.

Province will be playing on 26 December when they host Griquas at Newlands. It is something that will be unusual to all the participating Currie Cup teams, who are used to spending the December period in a traditional ‘off-season’.

With three rounds to go in the competition before the semi-finals, every game will be seen as a ‘must-win’, especially as there are just three points separating fourth-placed Province from the second-placed Lions.

Speaking in an online press conference with the media on Monday afternoon, assistant coach Dawie Snyman explained how the team will be approaching this period mentally.

‘It was nice to see each other again after spending time with our families, especially at this time of year when everyone is on holiday and you see your friends hanging out with their families,’ Snyman said. ‘It was an opportunity for us to catch up with our loved ones. Obviously, the guys are excited to see each other and get back to task.

‘It’s quite exciting. It is a bit of an adjustment. Since lockdown, the mindset was to get back on the field and play rugby again, so we will take playing rugby on any day. It is a bit weird to have a training session just before Christmas and know you are playing just after Christmas, but it’s nice to be back.

‘We will be training in the morning of the 24th – that’s Thursday morning – then everyone will spend Christmas with their families and we will get together on the morning of the matchday. We as a team are quite family-orientated. That also applies to the team itself, so it is quite nice seeing each other around Christmas for a change.’

Province will be boosted for Saturday’s match on the injury front as wing Sergeal Petersen has recovered from injury and could start. Tim Swiel could also keep his place at flyhalf after taking a knock in Province’s previous match against the Pumas.

Tighthead prop was an issue against the Pumas as a combination of positive Covid-19 tests and injuries meant that rookie Lee-Marvin Mazibuko was forced into the starting lineup and played all 80 minutes. However, Snyman confirmed that Neethling Fouche had started training again and was undergoing his return-to-play protocol after getting concussed against the Lions, while the rest of the tighthead props in the squad had also been training, with the Covid-19 results to be known on Monday evening.

Photo: Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack