Flank Nama Xaba will captain Western Province in their opening Currie Cup match against the Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
The former WP U19 and U21 captain will lead the senior team out for the first time in a match that kicks off at 5pm on Saturday.
It will also be the first WP match with a crowd since 2019, with 2,000 fully vaccinated spectators allowed to attend according to government Covid-19 protocols.
Xaba is joined in the loose trio by No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani and the promising Simon Miller, while Adre Smith and Connor Evans both make their WP debut as the starting locks.
Up front, experienced hooker Chad Solomon has props Kwenzo Blose and Lee-Marvin Mazibuko on either side of him.
In the backline, scrumhalf Thomas Bursey and wing Paschal Ekeji are also both on debut. Bursey will link up with experienced flyhalf Tim Swiel, who has Cornel Smit and Leolin Zas next to him in the midfield.
Ekeji is joined in the back three by fullback Tristan Leyds and Angelo Davids.
Hooker Jacques van Zyl, loose forward Keke Morabe and outside back Mnombo Zwelendaba are all set to make their debuts from the replacements bench, which also features a fair amount of experience in the likes of Deon Fourie and Godlen Masimla.
Head coach Jerome Paarwater says his team is determined to start their campaign with an energetic performance at home.
“We have had good preparations leading up to this game, working closely with the DHL Stormers squad, so we are looking forward to the challenge and to playing in front of a crowd again.
“We have a nice balance of youth and experience in the team, with four players in starting team making their debut and a few more on the bench, so it will be good to see what these combinations can do,” he said.
Western Province – 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Leolin Zas, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Paschal Ekeji, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Thomas Bursey, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Simon Miller, 6 Nama Xaba (c), 5 Adre Smith, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Subs: 16 Jacques van Zyl, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Keke Morabe, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Chris Schreuder, 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba.