Juan, Bongi to start for Province
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Western Province coach John Dobson has included Springbok duo Juan de Jongh and hooker Bongi Mbonambi to take on Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup semifinal at Loftus on Saturday.
The two return from national duty, for what will be a replay of last year’s semifinal, which saw WP secure a 23-18 win in Pretoria.
Dobson side has not only been boosted by the return of the Springboks but the coach also has the privilege of welcoming back injured players such as lock JD Schickerling, scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and centre Huw Jones.
De Jongh starts at outside centre alongside the fit-again Jones in midfield. There are two other changes to the backline as Dewaldt Duvenage returns from a hamstring injury to take his place at scrumhalf, whilst Werner Kok starts on the right wing, with Scott van Breda on the replacements bench.
The only changes to the forward pack come in the front row as Mbonambi lines up next to experienced loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg.
There are also some changes to the replacements with JD Schickerling making his return from a shoulder injury and Stefan Willemse providing loose forward cover.
Ahead of what will be their seventh consecutive Currie Cup semifinal, WP will be aiming to make it their fifth consecutive final when they take on the Blue Bulls.
WP coach Dobson said that the returning players have provided a significant boost ahead of the knock-out phase of the competition.
"All of the players coming in are top quality, so it has been a great week of training in preparation for the trip up to Loftus.
"We know that we will have to play our best game of the season in order to book our place in a fifth consecutive Currie Cup Final, and the players have embraced that challenge," he said.
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze, 23 Scott van Breda.
Date: Saturday, October 15
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18.00 (16.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Shaun Veldsman