Experienced prop Brok Harris will captain DHL Western Province in their final league match of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup season – against the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 17h05).
DHL Western Province have already qualified for a home semifinal, by virtue of their top of the log finish with a game in hand, and head coach Allister Coetzee has handed starts to captain Harris, fit-again Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and flyhalf Kurt Coleman, who will make his 50th appearance for Province.
Harris, who will be leaving Western Province at the end of the season – after eight years in the Cape, has played 117 matches for DHL Western Province and 93 for the DHL Stormers.
Inside centre Jaco Taute was not considered for selection due to a rib injury, with Michael van der Spuy and Pat Howard combining at centre this week.
Wings EW Viljoen (from the DHL WP U21 ranks) and Devon Williams will both get their first taste of Absa Currie Cup action, whilst forwards Oli Kebble (prop) and Jurie van Vuuren (lock) will also earn first-ever starts at this level after impressing off the bench last weekend and, like Williams, having already featured for the DHL Stormers earlier this season.
Forwards Justin Ackerman (prop – a member of the cup-winning U21 side from last year), Gavin Annandale (lock/flank – on loan) and Patrick O’Brien (loose forward – from UWC) are all in line to make their first-ever Absa Currie Cup appearances from the bench, along with utility back Chevandre van Schoor, a contracted WP player.
A familiar face on the bench this week is that of former DHL Western Province captain Anton van Zyl, who joins the matchday squad following injuries to first-choice locks Jean Kleyn and Ruan Botha.
“It’s a great opportunity to expand the capacity of our squad,” explained DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee at Thursday’s team announcement.
“I’d love to be in the position to have some selection headaches for the semifinal after a big game like this against the Sharks who have everything to play for and will create just the pressure-filled environment needed to test those players coming into this side this week.”
Coetzee is expecting a tough match on Saturday, as the Sharks head to DHL Newlands knowing that a win could put them in line for a home semifinal.
He told www.wprugby.com: “The Sharks are starting to fire at the right time, they’re starting to play some good rugby and there’s a big belief in the side. They’re a formidable team and will present a huge challenge (for us).”
Match tickets for Saturday are priced from just R35 (for standing), whilst seating prices range between R55, R65, R75 and R95 and can be purchased right now from wprugby.ticketpros.co.za.
Tickets can also be bought directly from the DHL Newlands Box Office (opening times this week: Tuesday-Friday, 09h00-16h00 and Saturday, 09h00-15h30), or from selected Western Cape Spar stores and PostNet branches (nationwide).
The DHL WP team for Saturday (v Sharks, home) is as follows:
15. Dillyn Leyds
14. EW Viljoen (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province)
13. Pat Howard
12. Michael van der Spuy
11. Devon Williams (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province)
10. Kurt Coleman (vice-captain – 50th cap for DHL Western Province)
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Rohan Kitshoff
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
4. Jurie van Vuuren (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province)
3. Brok Harris (captain)
2. Tiaan Liebenberg
1. Oli Kebble (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province)
16. Neil Rautenbach
17. Justin Ackerman (On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province)
18. Gavin Annandale (On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province)
19. Anton van Zyl
20. Patrick O’Brien (On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province)
21. Godlen Masimla
22. Chevandre van Schoor (On Absa Currie Cup debut for DHL Western Province)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Marc van Zyl
Television Match Official: Shaun Veldsman