Province faces Euro raid on their resources
CURRIE CUP SPOTLIGHT: As that old adage goes: ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’
In the case of Western Province, the ‘smoke’ is World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi and the ‘fire’ is unheralded young lock David Meihuizen.
WP coach John Dobson revealed that Scottish scouts are offering the 23-year-old, Cape Town-born and Paarl schooled, second row forward an absolute fortune.
Meihuizen will feature in a Province team that shows seven changes when they host the Pumas in a Currie Cup Round Three encounter at Newlands on Friday.
Meihuizen is in for seasoned lock John Schickerling, who is being rested.
However, the decision also relates to the desperate desire to keep the Euro scouts at bay.
“He is a really exciting player that is in high demand overseas,” Dobson told a virtual media briefing, adding that Meihuizen qualifies for England and Scotland.
“If we don’t play him or give him opportunities, it is going to be harder to retain him.
“We see him as a player with a big future.
“He is in high demand in Scotland [and] there have been some formal approaches via his agent.
“In Scotland, if you get a 2.08m, 123kg player, that is a big unit.”
Dobson said he has to be realistic about the management of his resources.
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“I can’t wait till next year, and David Meihuizen comes to me, saying: ‘I got 12 minutes or 30 minutes in the whole competition, it is not enough for my development. I am going.’
“I have to be cognizant of that and address it.”
There has been plenty of other rumours around WP players, in the wake of the financial dramas playing themselves out in Cape Town.
“There are a lot of rumours and a lot of smoke at the moment,” Dobson said, when asked by @rugby365com about his players, adding: “[If there’s smoke] you must suspect there must be fire.
“No player has told me officially they are going.
“I know that Harlequins are after a couple of our forwards.
“There has been an article that [WP captain] Siya [Kolisi] may be in demand elsewhere in South Africa,” the coach said about the suggestion that Kolisi could be courted by the Sharks.
“There is a perpetual rumour about Damian Willemse going to the Bulls.
“There is a lot of smoke, but the window [for negotiation] with those players is not open for a couple of months yet.”
However, the Meihuizen situation is very is different.
“He is not an established guy coming off a contract,” Dobson said, adding: “He is a young guy that has to make a call on his future and we really, really want to keep him in this union.
“The only formal chat I have had is with David, because Scotland is offering him an absolute fortune.
“I said to Siya: ‘Do we need to have a chat?’ and he said: ‘Let’s get through [the game against the Pumas on] Friday.’
“That is a responsible and mature attitude.
“I don’t think there is anything formal and there can’t be until the contracting window starts.”