Young guns for WP at Loftus
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: There are six Under-21 players in the Western Province matchday squad to face the Blue Bulls in their opening Currie Cup Premier Division clash at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Wings Leolin Zas and Khanyo Ngcukana, centre Daniel du Plessis, loose forward Jacques Vermeulen, lock JD Schickerling and utility replacement back Brandon Thomson, are all still eligible for Western Province U21, but will do duty for the senior team.
In the backline, Zas and Ngcukana will link up with fullback Scott van Breda, whilst Du Plessis partners Huw Jones in midfield, with flyhalf Robert du Preez and experienced vice-captain Jano Vermaak forming the halfback pairing.
Vermeulen starts at No.8 to form an imposing loose trio with flanks Jurie van Vuuren and Rynhardt Elstadt. Schickerling is in the second row alongside captain Chris Van Zyl, and tighthead prop Wilco Louw links up with Siyabonga Ntubeni and Alistair Vermaak in the front row.
Thomson is amongst the backline replacements, along with scrumhalf Godlen Masimla and utility back Johnny Kotze.
Hooker Chad Solomon and props Oliver Kebble and JP Smith form the front row cover on the replacements bench alongside loose forward Kobus van Dyk.
Coach John Dobson said that his team has embraced the challenge of travelling to Loftus Versfeld to take on the Blue Bulls in their opening match of the Currie Cup Premier Division ahead of their bye next week.
"This team certainly does not lack talent or enthusiasm, and although we have not had a lot of time together as a group, we are excited about taking on this challenge," he said.
Dobson added that he expects the senior players in the team to play a big role in what will be a testing start to their campaign.
"It is a relatively young side, but we have got experienced players in key positions and they will hopefully provide some guidance for the considerable young talent we will have out there," he said.
Western Province: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 JP Smith, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Brandon Thomson, 22 Johnny Kotze.
Date: Friday, August 5
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.10 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Vusi Msibi, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff