Springbok Warrick Gelant will make his long-awaited return from injury, while coach John Dobson has revealed Western Province’s new captain for Friday’s Currie Cup encounter with the Bulls at Newlands.
Juan de Jongh will come full circle as he captains WP due to the unavailability of Ernst van Rhyn through injury.
De Jongh will resume his partnership with Dan du Plessis in the midfield, with the only backline change from the team that bagged the bonus-point victory over the Pumas this past Sunday on the wing – Seabelo Senatla starts in place of Tristan Leyds.
The absence of regular skipper Van Rhyn means that JD Shickerling will be joined by David Meihuizen in the second row, with in-form prop Neethling Fouche the only other change to the pack. He replaces Sazi Sandi, who drops to the bench for Friday’s fixture.
Dobson had a plethora of talent to call upon with the fit-again Gelant and veteran Deon Fourie also named among the substitutes.
“It’s an exciting period for us, with two tough home games, but a squad that is looking really confident,” said Dobson.
“We’ve come through a very tough sequence of games and the team really lifted themselves in Nelspruit. We know the North-South derby never needs much motivation but, for sure, the team will be lifted by the presence of the likes of Warrick [Gelant] and Deon [Fourie]. It’s also a good opportunity to keep the continuity and we all know what leadership qualities Juan [de Jongh] brings to the squad.”
“The North-South derby is always a tough, physical battle. Our forwards have shown over the past few matches their ability to dominate and we are hoping that it’s a case of ‘more of the same’ at DHL Newlands,” added Dobson.
The match kicks off at 7pm.
Western Province – 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons.
Subs (from): 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Deon Fourie, 20 Simon Miller, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Chris Schreuder 23 Rikus Pretorius, 24 Warrick Gelant, 25 Marcel Theunissen.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images