The Durbanville/Bellville club star has once again caught the attention of WP coach John Dobson and been included in his run-on XV for the Vodacom Cup South Section match against the Border Bulldogs at City Park in Crawford, with the No. 15 jersey now in his possession.
April played a lead role for his club two Mondays back, scoring a try and setting up his brother Brendon April for another, as he helped steer his side to a 31-30 victory over Community Cup holders Rustenburg Impala in the final and a first national title and he was voted the Young Player of the Tournament.
April, 23, played at flyhalf in that competition, but now finds himself in the fullback position for Province, a slot he is familiar with.
“We’ve known about Garth’s abilities since his school days as a junior at St. Albans and at Paarl Gymnasium (matriculated at Florida High School in Johannesburg). He was spotted, but was then lost to Cape rugby when he decided to moved up to Gauteng and play for the Golden Lions at junior and senior level,” Dobson said of his new recruit.
“Now that he’s back in the Cape and done well for his club, it has opened the door for him, and I’m keen to see how he does for us as our last defender in an attacking role.
“Since the fullback is an unmarked position, when the chance to counter presents itself Garth will be given freedom of the park to express himself.
“Garth will have many chances to join in the line and lead the counters, if given the time and space to do so.”
Backing Dobson’s view that Province have an “X-factor” player on their hands, is April’s club coach Jan Loubser.
“Garth has done some great things for his club and deserves the accolades. He had to work hard for what he’s got now – a senior debut – and watch this space, because this guy’s got something special to offer. I just hope that Province look after him well and that he is given a fair chance to stake a permanent claim,” said Loubser. “Important thing is all players coming through the ranks need grooming, both on and off the field.
“Guidance off the park is as important as on-field performance. Garth is a young man who’s worked on all aspects of his life, never for once forgetting where he comes from and what he strived for.”
As for the man of the moment, April, who snubbed a contract offer from Province in 2010, is taking it all in his stride. The two-time SA Schools representative, who was also a member of the SA Under-18 Elite side, says life has changed drastically for him over the past month. “One minute you’re playing club rugby, the next you’re playing for your province at senior level, how amazing is that?” said April.
“To be part of Durbell’s cup-winning squad was something special I will never forget. Now for a new chapter in my rugby life. I can’t believe it’s happening that way so quickly for me, though. I got to thank my clubmates for making me look good, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
WP should waltz to victory over a Border side still winless in the competition.
Province have won all three games they’ve contested to date, a couple convincingly, in the process clocking up a 14 log-point haul from a possible 15 inclusive of the two bonus points picked up for scoring four tries or more in the wins over Boland (25-10), then the Sharks XV (32-12), before a 19-13 triumph over the EP Kings.
Border, while always try-hards, can expect little mercy from the home side and look set to remain stuck at the bottom of the eight-team log for the remainder of the season.
Win four on the cards seems a foregone conclusion for Province.
Western Province: 15 Garth April, 14 Tshotsho Mbovane, 13 Kyle Lombard, 12 Robert du Preez, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 SP Ferreira, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Luke van der Smit, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Neil Rautenbach, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Charlton van Jaarsveld, 17 Wilco Louw, 18 Deacon Chowles, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Justin Benn, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Willy Ambaka
Original source: Club star April to make WP debut