Western Province head coach John Dobson said he is excited to see what the experienced Alistair Vermaak will bring in Steven Kitshoff’s place in Saturday’s semifinal against the Sharks.
WP suffered a huge blow when World Cup-winner Kitshoff ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols. Kitshoff has captained the team when Siya Kolisi has not been available this season, leading from the front as one of the top performers in the competition.
“It is statistically proven that Kitsie has been absolutely outstanding in this campaign,” said Dobson.
“He stood in for Siya very well as skipper and he is definitely one of our most important players.
“I am comforted by Ali Vermaak being there, we have got a long relationship and I think he was unlucky not to be made a Springbok a couple of years ago.
“To my mind, he is one of the most underrated props in South Africa. So, to have Ali come in for Steven is brilliant.”
Kolisi said that the team are determined to give Kitshoff the chance to play in the final next week.
“It is tough to miss a guy like Kitsie, who has been instrumental for this team.
“It is part of our motivation, playing at Newlands. We are closing the book here and we also want to make sure we give our best for Kitsie who has been great for the team, so we also want to give him another opportunity to play next week,” he said.
Kitshoff is not only a powerful scrummager, but his work rate around the park, especially at the breakdown, will also be missed.
“He will definitely be missed there [breakdowns] because he has been doing a whole lot of that and we saw it when the stats came out,” Kolisi added. “But I know we have guys who are capable of doing that.
“It’s not something that we really go for but there are some guys who are really good at it like he is.
“There are other ways we plan on winning the ball back, so we will focus more on that.”
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