After a two week break the Dirty Whites will rumble into gear against Union Milnerton on Friday 2 May away at Theo Marais Park in their third round SLB fixture. Kick off 9pm.
Coming off a bye is never easy as players tend to be rusty while team cohesion and execution tends to fall by the wayside, however Villager will need to quickly shake off any rustiness and any thoughts of complacency against a Milnerton side that are expected to be highly motivated playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in this years league and are surely looking to make amends after a disappointing away fixture last week against Macassar where they drew 14 all.
Gearing up for this fixture, Head Coach Andrew Hughes and his coaching charges have meticulously prepared for Milnerton, a game they believe will be the sides first real test thus far, “Playing Milnerton away on a Friday night will be a tough challenge for us, they have a good coaching set up and will be playing their first game at home this year which we expect will give them a big boost mentally, while I believe their result against Macassar will have been a disappointment to them and are sure to try make up for it against us. We will have to be at our best to beat them” Hughes said.
Milnerton, newly promoted to the SLB in 2014 after the change in the club competition structure, is headed up by former Provincial and Baby Bok flyhalf Ismael Dollie who has also enlisted the help of former Springbok Centre Adrian Jacobs. The combination of Dollie and Jacobs is sure to have had a positive effect on Milnerton and this will have been factored in by Villager staff, “Although Milnerton drew to Maccassar I believe they (Dollie and Jacobs) will have something up their sleeve to surprise us so we will have to be ready for anything thrown at us.” Hughes continued.
Andrew Hughes has selected what is arguably the strongest side Villager has put out thus far this year as injured players return while others have returned due to various availability issues, however the loss of veteran hooker Troy Lee, who is away on work, and impact player Andrew Wilkins, who is attending a wedding, are both big losses to the side. Countering the loss of Lee in the starting lineup is the welcomed return of Daniel Clarke at flyhalf who has finally overcome his ankle injury he sustained in week one of the league.
Forwards coach Riaan Crous expects big things from the pack on Friday, “I’m excited about the composition of our pack this week and I expect them to take the game to Milnerton who also have a tidy set of forwards. The game will be won and lost in the forwards on Friday night so we will be looking to dominate them in the set phases as well as in the contact points, this is non negotiable in this league so we will need to continue looking to improve this aspect of our game.”
To win the forward battle on Friday, Hughes has selected a sizeable forward pack with the front row consisting of Adrian Cleophas, Ryan Germishuys and hooker Scott Pitcher, who makes his first start of the year. Pitcher, a livewire hooker, is expected to ably fill the void left by Lee and adds a new dimension to the side on attack. The second row of Ryan Bezuidenhout and Stephen Buerger will continue their budding partnership while in the the loose forwards the return of LT Stamper on the flank is expected to add another level of physicality to an already physical pack. LT will be joined by the talented Jannie Bester and Ashley Clarke at eight.
The backline sees the return of the Daniel partnership, with Daniel Anderson returning at scrum half after an illness enforced absence and Daniel Clarke returning to flyhalf after overcoming his ankle injury. The long-time centre partnership of David Radloff and Stuart Pattison continues this weekend and is expected to cause Milnerton a variety of headaches on both attack and defence. The unfortunate training field injury to youngster Reece Gregg sees Donny Venter make a return to the side while Jethro Valentine makes a positional switch to wing after filling in at full back for James Allderman who returns from his Eastern Cape sojourn.
As has been the case in the first few games of the year the bench is expected to be the biggest difference between the sides especially as the enforcers, Chad Henson and Brent Wienandt make their return after injuries. Ayden Coetzee, Cieran Fitzgerald, Brodie Blows, Brent Sanders and Christo Terblanche are all expected to make a sizeable impact when they take the field in what Hughes hopes will be the deciding factor, “The bench has made all the difference in our teams performance so far and I expect no difference on Friday. The return of Wienandt and Henson is a big boost to the side when they come onto the field, while Sanders and Terblanche have both made good impacts in the games they have played this year.”
Villager FC encourages all members, families and supporters of the club to make their way out to Milnerton for the crucial clash on Friday night. Your support is always welcomed by the players.
1st XV vs Milnerton:
|Milnerton 1st XV||Villager 1st XV||Milnerton A||21:00|
|Milnerton 2nd XV||Villager 2nd XV||Milnerton A||19:45|
|Milnerton 3rd XV||Villager 3rd XV||Milnerton A||18:35|
|Milnerton u20||Villager u20||Milnerton A||17:30|