Mon 16 May 2022 | 12:33

VIDEO: Another gem off the Province conveyor-belt of talent

VIDEO: Another gem off the Province conveyor-belt of talent
Mon 16 May 2022 | 12:33
VIDEO: Another gem off the Province conveyor-belt of talent
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South Africa is well-stocked with quality loose forwards – the skilful carriers, powerful defenders, those who add value in the line-outs and the bruisers.

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Then there are the breakdown specialist – the poachers or fetchers.

Kuyenzeka Xaba, affectionately known as Nama, is one such player – a man with a bright future, someone who is earmarked for higher honours.

Described as a “very good leader” on and off the field, Xaba currently captains the Western Province Currie Cup team.

Born in Durban and schooled at Glenwood High, before moving to Cape Town, he is the inspiration behind WP’s recovery from a seven-match losing streak to beat the Pumas in a Round 11 match at the weekend.

Xaba produced a breakdown masterclass in Nelspruit at the weekend, when WP dented the Pumas’ hopes of reaching the Currie Cup playoffs.

Province, in a drama-filled encounter at the Mbombela Stadium, won 23-17.

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It was to be expected that there would be plaudits for the inspirational WP skipper.

“He has a good work ethic,” WP coach Jerome Paarwater told @rugby365com, when asked about the ambitious 24-year-old flank.

“It doesn’t just happen. He will spend an hour after every practice doing work on his own – work on his breakdown skills.

“In the past referees were penalising him for coming in from the side and he worked on it.

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“He is the only player I give freedom to go and poach the ball.

“He is a class player, who played Under-21 with me for two years.

“He is putting Deon Fourie under pressure [in the United Rugby Championship team].

“That is what the Stormers coaches want, for our guys [Currie Cup players] to put them [URC players] under pressure.”

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Paarwater said Xaba will not let the URC or even Springbok team down.

“He is still young enough to play in the next [2027] World Cup.”

“He can definitely play for the Boks.”

The Nelspruit encounter also produced some unexpected drama, when a power outage temporarily halted the game in the final minute.

When the power was eventually restored, WP hung on against a desperate Pumas surge for victory – with the Cape Town team ending that seven-match losing streak.

With only three rounds remaining, the defending-champion Bulls (42 points after 10 games) are leading the Cheetahs by a single point, although the Free Staters have a game in hand. They are followed by the Sharks in a distant third on 24 points from 10 games.

Griquas, who were not in action this weekend, are still in the fourth position on 21 points from nine games, while the Pumas are fifth on 20 points from the same number of games. WP improved to 13 points, while the winless Lions complete the standings on five points after 10 games.

There is a fortnight before the next round of league matches – when the Bulls host the Pumas on Friday, May 27 in Pretoria, Griquas welcome the Cheetahs to Kimberley on Saturday, May 28 and the Lions entertain WP, also on the Saturday, in Johannesburg.

WP coach Jerome Paarwater said the players ‘deserved’ the win, given the hard work they put in during their horror run of seven consecutive defeats.

He also pointed to the team’s “scramble defence” as being decisive in the outcome of a tight game.

“The defence showed the character that exists in this team,” he said of the dying moments when the Pumas threw everything but the kitchen sink at them.

“They never gave up, even during that bad run [seven defeats].

“The players grew in stature throughout the season.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

Currie-Cup-standings-after-11-rounds

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