Jimmy Stonehouse will coach a 30-man squad brimming with Springboks and Blitzboks, and blended with some of the most promising youngsters on the local provincial scene when they assemble in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday for the second Champions Match, scheduled for Saturday.
The Champions Team that will face Italy A at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is made up of Currie Cup players from around the country, as voted for by their fans.
Stonehouse, whose Pumas won the Currie Cup for the first time in their history on Saturday when they beat Griquas in the final in Kimberley, will be in charge along with his provincial management team.
Included in the side are two Springboks in Cornal Hendricks (centre) and Embrose Papier (scrumhalf), while players such as Victor Sekekete (lock), Nama Xaba (loose forward), Clayton Blommetjies (fullback) and Robert Ebersohn (centre) will provide valuable experience as they prepare to face the Italians.
Hendricks, Ebersohn, Blommetjies and Angelo Davids are the four players in the squad who have represented the Blitzboks.
Furthermore, three players are back from last year’s Champions Team, which beat Kenya at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. They are WP’s Xaba, and the Vodacom Bulls duo of Keagan Johannes (scrumhalf) and Simphiwe Matanzima (prop).
Champions Team – 15 Clayton Blommetjies (Cheetahs), 14 Daniel Kasende (Cheetahs), 13 David Brits (Cheetahs), 12 Cornal Hendricks (Bulls), 11 Angelo Davids (WP), 10 Siya Masuku (Cheetahs), 9 Keagan Johannes (Bulls), 8 Mihlali Mosi (Cheetahs), 7 Sibusiso Sangweni (Lions), 6 Nama Xaba (WP), 5 Janko Swanepoel (Bulls), 4 Victor Sekekete (Cheetahs), 3 Robert Hunt (Bulls), 2 Marnus van der Merwe (Cheetahs), 1 Simphiwe Matanzima (Bulls).
Subs: 16 Dan Jooste (Sharks), 17 Dewald Maritz (Pumas), 18 Kwenzo Blose (WP), 19 Shane Kirkwood (Pumas), 20 Willie Engelbrecht (Pumas), 21 Embrose Papier (Bulls), 22 Tristan Leyds (WP), 23 Devon Williams (Pumas).
Additional players: Eduan Swart (Pumas), Keke Morabe (WP), Andries Fouche (Pumas), Sanele Nohamba (Lions), Theo Boshoff (Griquas), Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs), Alwayno Visagie (Pumas).
Photo: ©Charle Lombard/BackpagePix