Kolisi back to captain Province

Siya Kolisi has recovered from injury to lead Western Province in their Currie Cup opener against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Kolisi has been out since playing against the Pumas in the third round of Super Rugby Unlocked in Nelspruit, where he sustained a grade-one hamstring tear in the first half.

The Springbok captain will play his first game for Western Province since 9 August 2019 as he replaces Marcel Theunissen, who is named on an extended bench.

John Dobson’s side has also been boosted by the return to fitness of Seabelo Senatla, who starts on the right wing in a back three which also features fullback Warrick Gelant and left wing Angelo Davids.

The starting lineup is otherwise at full strength, featuring an all-Springbok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe, while Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse continue their halfback partnership.

On the bench, loosehead prop Ali Vermaak has also returned to full fitness and could play his first official rugby match since the 2018 Currie Cup final.

Vermaak sustained a neck injury during a pre-season training session with the Stormers in 2019. After undergoing an MRI, Vermaak was told that he might not be able to play rugby again as he would be putting himself at risk of paralysis.

The injury kept the 31-year-old out for the entirety of the 2019 Super Rugby and Currie Cup season.

The bench features a return for loose-forward Jaco Coetzee, who has also recovered from the injury he suffered during Super Rugby Unlocked.

Western Province – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Kwenzo Blose, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 David Meihuizen, 21 Chris van Zyl, 22 Jaco Coetzee, 23 Marcel Theunissen, 24 Godlen Masimla, 25 Tim Swiel, 26 Ruhan Nel.

Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images