All change as WP Boks return
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee brought back all his Springboks for Saturday's must-win Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands.
Western Province head coach Allister Coetzee has brought back all his Springboks for Saturday's must-win Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands.
Coetzee has made eight changes to his starting line-up from last weekend's clash in Pretoria with the introduction of WP’s seven Rugby Championship Springboks - including national skipper Jean de Villiers, who takes over the captaincy from flank Deon Fourie.
De Villiers will be joined in the starting line-up by fellow Boks - centre Juan de Jongh, wing Bryan Habana, No.8 Duane Vermeulen, locks Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker and hooker Tiaan Liebenberg.
Of the eight changes to the WP starting XV, one is positional - with Don Armand shifting from lock to the back row (where he replaces the injured Tyrone Holmes at No.7).
There are five changes up front and three changes amongst the backs to the side that went down 13-26 to the Blue Bulls.
The only player without Super Rugby experience in the WP line-up is flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, whilst, remarkably, after 13 Super Rugby matches and eight Tests for the Springboks, lock Eben Etzebeth will make his Currie Cup debut for Western Province.
"You've got to select your best possible side for the weekend," said Coetzee this week.
"It's completely different from last year, the mindset... everything.
"This is a crunch game for us [this weekend], last year we had to play the Pumas and we had already qualified for the semifinals. We have selected our best possible team to ensure we qualify for the semifinals."
Meanwhile, another Springbok, wing/fullback Gio Aplon, rejoins the matchday 22 on the bench after recovering sufficiently from the ankle injury suffered against Griquas three weeks ago.
Aplon will be joined amongst the replacements by regular starters - and performers - up till now; Siyabonga Ntubeni, Brok Harris, De Kock Steenkamp, Jebb Sinclair, Louis Schreuder and Marcel Brache - giving WP massive strike-power from the bench.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Gio Aplon.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker, Linston Manuels
TMO: Deon van Blommestein