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Western Province will look to former Griqua star Adre Smith to lead the way in Kimberley

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The player that could be a key figure in the WP pack will be No.4 lock Adre Smith, who is a former Griquas star himself.

Adre Smith will be key for Western Province against his former side Griquas. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

Cape Town – Did you know that the last time Western Province beat Griquas in the Currie Cup was in 2018?

That 38-12 victory came at Newlands, and since then, it’s all gone in the favour of the Northern Cape outfit.

Since 2019, Griquas have won six games in a row over their more illustrious opponents – 27-23 (home), 46-25 (home), 30-28 (away), 43-41 (away), 22-20 (home) and 32-12 (away).

ALSO READ: Griquas know what needs to be done against Western Province

That’s why it’s no wonder that coach John Dobson opted to pick a nearly full-strength team yesterday for this afternoon’s encounter in Kimberley (3pm kickoff).

Most of the Stormers who featured in last week’s United Rugby Championship final defeat against Munster made the trip up north, except for Springbok squad members Damian Willemse, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies, Evan Roos, Marvin Orie, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba and Steven Kitshoff – while Province captain and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis is out due to concussion protocols.

Other than centre Dan du Plessis, it’s a powerful WP team, with tighthead prop Neethling Fouche taking over the captaincy.

ALSO READ: Western Province call on Stormers stars to subdue Griquas in Kimberley

Outside centre Ruhan Nel and No.8 Hacjivah Dayimani are the biggest guns in the WP line-up, but there is plenty of speed and creativity available in the shape of back-three operators Clayton Blommetjies, Angelo Davids and Leolin Zas, as well as scrumhalf Paul de Wet – who will have to shepherd Maties captain Jurie Matthee in what will be an intimidating situation.

Dayimani & Co will need to set the tone upfront, and he will have some serious lieutenants in the loose trio in workhorse Ben-Jason Dixon and the skilful Marcel Theunissen.

But perhaps the key figure in the WP pack will be No.4 lock Adre Smith, who is a former Griquas star himself.

His old team will certainly try to make him lose his cool in the tight exchanges, but the Oakdale Agricultural High School product is as robust as they come and won’t take a backward step in trying to stoke the fire in the WP pack.

Smith is turning 26 on Sunday, and a win over Griquas would be a sweet birthday present.

Griquas, though, will be as desperate to stay alive in the semi-final race.

Western Province Team

15 Clayton Blommetjies 14 Angelo Davids 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Juan de Jongh 11 Leolin Zas 10 Jurie Matthee 9 Paul de Wet 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Ben-Jason Dixon 6 Marcel Theunissen 5 Connor Evans 4 Adre Smith 3 Neethling Fouché (captain) 2 Scarra Ntubeni 1 Ali Vermaak

Bench: 16 André-Hugo Venter 17 Leon Lyons 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko 19 Ruben van Heerden 20 Willie Engelbrecht 21 Louw Nel 22 Godlen Masimla 23 Cornel Smit

@AshfakMohamed

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