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Final bolter in WP backline

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 11:28
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Six Under-21 players in the matchday 22
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The surprise selection of Damian de Allende is the only change to the Western Province team for Saturday's  Currie Cup Final against the Sharks.

WP coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to the starting line-up that beat the Golden Lions 21-16 in last Saturday's dramatic semifinal, with De Allende and Marcel Brache trading places.

De Allende will start in the No.12 jersey and Brache drops to the bench for the Final, which may be seen as something of a gamble as Brache has held the position for most of the season.

Coetzee said that although the young utility back has not played in the position at Currie Cup level yet, he is confident that he will be able to handle the pressure on the big stage this weekend.

"Whenever he has played for us he has made a massive impression and even last week when he came off the bench it was telling so I know it is the right choice.

"I don't think you will have all of your experience in a final, you will have players that will have to grow in matches like that.

"What I do know is that he is the type of player we need for the conditions and the trype of rugby we want to play.

"I am fairly happy with what I have seen from Damien, although he is young he is good enough," he said.

Coetzee explained that the selection of the physically imposing De Allende was motivated by the need for a big physical presence in midfield against a powerful Sharks team in what are expected to be heavy conditions underfoot.

"They have got a powerful team and I think Brache will do a job off the bench and we will probably be needing his experience in the last couple of minutes of the game.

"We have got to front up physically and I think Damien is the right choice.

"He is quite a good ball-carrier, he has got explosive pace, he is quite bigt and tall and he has got good core skills as well.

Flank Deon Fourie will captain the team, with six Under-21 players in the matchday 22 and six Test Springboks and one Canadian international in the squad.

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Joe Pietersen.

Date: Saturday, October 27
Venue:  Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Johann Meuwesen

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