It's important to get off to a good start in the competition
Nine players will make their Currie Cup debuts for Western Province when they take on the Sharks in a first-round match at Newlands on Saturday.
Deon Fourie, who will start in the No.6 jersey, was on Wednesday confirmed as the man to captain WP during the 2012 Currie Cup season and he will have a raft of 'new' players around him come the weekend.
Backs Gerhard van den Heever, JP du Plessis and Burton Francis all played in the Super Rugby tournament for the Stormers this year, but will be on debut for WP in the Currie Cup tournament, along with forwards Jebb Sinclair, Don Armand, Tyrone Holmes and Deon Carstens.
Starting centre Du Plessis and reserves Wilhelm van der Sluys and Damian de Allende have all played for the Western Province Under-21 team this season and follow in the footsteps of Springbok squad members, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi, as players who are still eligible for the WP U21 side.
Thirteen members of the WP matchday squad faced up to the Sharks in their recent Super Rugby clash at this selfsame venue, whilst eight players represented the victorious Vodacom Cup side at some point this year.
Coach Allister Coetzee said that utility forward Rynhardt Elstadt will be sidelined for two weeks with a groin strain, while loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff is expected to return to action next week.
"Rynhardt is still suffering from a bit of groin stiffness, it is not a tear yet and I think that is what we are trying to prevent here.
"He will probably be out until next week and then we will assess again but I don't think it is longer than a two week injury.
"Steven Kitshoff is the other player. He took a knock in the semifinal on his knee and it is also precuationary, nothing seriously wrong with the knee just a big knock and he will probably be out for this week only," he said.
Coetzee said that he is excited to see what the new players have to offer at this level under the guidance of the new leadership group.
"It is exciting to see that there are nine newcomers to the side, guys that will make their debut for Western Province and I think that is what the Currie Cup provides us with - the opportunity for young players and I am really looking forward to see how they go," he said.
Coetzee explained that Fourie could find himself back at hooker later in the season but will continue to play at loose forward while the team needs him there.
"There is still a bit of a [loose forward] crisis at the moment and he can help out there. That is the philosophy of the team and the players here," he said.
"It's important to get off to a good start in the competition irrespective of who you play and home games are particular importance too," said Coetzee.
"We won 14 from 17 [in the Super Rugby season] which shows that there is not a lot wrong and we will definitely not try and re-invent the wheel during the Currie Cup season," said Coetzee.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 JC Kritzinger, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Damian de Allende.
Date: Saturday, August 11
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Marc van Zyl
TMO: JC Fortuin