Damian Willemse will start at flyhalf as one of four Springboks who return to Western Province’s starting XV for their tournament-defining game against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
After their agonising 27-23 defeat by Griquas last week, WP coach John Dobson would have welcomed the return of Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw and Scarra Ntubeni and has selected his side accordingly.
Leyds comes in at fullback, forcing SP Marais out to the wing at the expense of Seabelo Senatla, who drops to the bench. Louw and Ntubeni start at tighthead and hooker, respectively.
Meanwhile, Willemse, who enjoyed a good cameo against Griquas, gets the nod at flyhalf ahead of Josh Stander, who has been omitted from the match-day squad entirely. Jean-Luc du Plessis will provide No 10 cover from the bench.
In the only other change to the run-on side, talented Junior Bok Rikus Pretorius will make his Currie Cup debut at inside centre ahead of Dan Kriel.
Juarno Augustus is also set to return from injury, having been named among the reserves.
Province are currenly fifth in the standings and need to beat Free State to advance to the knockout stage.
Western Province – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corne Fourie.
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Juan Augustus, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images