Province bulk up for Bulls

Rynhardt Elstadt will start at openside flank for Western Province's semi-final against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Province coach Allister Coetzee has reverted to the side that has served him well throughout the season, finishing top of the log and losing just twice. One notable change is the inclusion of the combative Elstadt, who has been used at both lock and flank during the campaign.

Young Sikhumbuzo Notshe went well against the Sharks last weekend in his favoured No 8 role and is unlucky to miss out, after Coetzee decided to bolster his pack in a bid to nullify the threat posed by the Bulls' ball-carriers.

'We need to stop their rolling mauls and Rynhardt is better suited to that task,' said Coetzee. 'They're a side that, once they have momentum, it's difficult to stop them.'

Coetzee was also able to welcome back the fit-again pairing of fullback Cheslin Kolbe and lock Jean Kleyn as well as Seabelo Senatla, who has been involved with the Blitzboks in recent weeks.

Jaco Taute has not recovered from a rib injury and Michael van der Spuy will take his place at inside centre, where he'll come up against Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard. Coetzee is comfortable that Province will be able to deal with Pollard's unique talent.

'He is a special player. You don't become a Springbok at that age for no reason, but we can't only focus on one player. If we had to focus our attentions on him, then players on the outside will get more space.

'It's going to be a battle at the gainline, but I'm confident that this is the best possible side to deal with what the Bulls have to offer.'

Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 EW Viljoen.

Currie Cup teams (semi-finals)

Photo: Chris Rocco/BackpagePix