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Thu Sep 29 08:43:16 CAT 2016

De Jongh gets SOS for emergency WP duty

CRAIG RAY and CHUMANI BAMBANI | 23 September, 2016 08:14
RESCUE ME: Juan de Jongh has been released from the Springbok squad at the last minute as an emergency replacement for Western Province's Currie Cup match against Griquas in Kimberley tonight.
Image by: GETTY IMAGES

Centre Juan de Jongh was a late release from the Boks to answer an SOS from Western Province for tonight's Currie Cup match against Griquas in Kimberley.

De Jongh was not one of the five players formally released by Bok coach Allister Coetzee on Monday, but after Western Province lost centre EW Viljoen to injury, a request was made.

Coach John Dobson put De Jongh and Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi straight into the starting lineup.

Griquas currently occupy the fourth and final semifinal place on the standings with 19 log points.

Western Province are fifth on 18 points, making this match a de facto quarterfinal, especially as Province's final pool match is a home game against Boland, where a victory should be a formality.

De Jongh will form a midfield pairing with Scottish international Huw Jones, while Mbonambi ousts Mikey Willemse from the starting lineup with Willemse dropping to the bench.

Jones has scored six tries in the Currie Cup so far this season and is just one behind Bulls wing Jamba Ulengo.

For the Blue Bulls, a top four finish remains the priority as they head into their last round-robin match of the domestic competition tonight.

The Pretoria side travel to Wellington, where they will take on Boland Cavaliers in their eighth match of the pool stages at 3pm.

The visitors will need a win to cement a top-four finish even before the round-robin stages are completed next week.

The Bulls are currently in third place on the log with the Free State Cheetahs sitting comfortably at the summit of the table.

The Sharks in second place share the same number of points as the Bulls on 25.

The Durban side have a bye this weekend and will end their round-robin campaign with an encounter against the defending champs, the Golden Lions, next week.

The Golden Lions face the Kings in tomorrow's only fixture.

Coach Johan Ackermann has taken advantage of the release of an international player by including hooker Malcolm Marx and prop Julian Redelinghuys in the starting lineup against the EP Kings.

Marx, 22, made his Test debut off the bench against the All Blacks in Christchurch last week.

The defending Currie Cup champions are sixth on the standings with two rounds to play.

They still have a mathematical chance of making the semifinals but they need several results to go their way while securing a maximum 10 points from their last two matches against the EP Kings and the Sharks.

- TMG Digital

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