Springbok training squad members Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff will both start in the front row for DHL Western Province in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash against ORC Griquas at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).
Ntubeni replaces Bongi Mbonambi at hooker, whilst Kitshoff comes in for Ali Vermaak at loosehead prop, with coach John Dobson making a total of five personnel changes to the starting line-up that went down 21-28 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Friday.
The other changes to the DHL WP starting XV see Nic Groom and Kurt Coleman team up at halfback, whilst livewire flanker Chris Cloete will start in the No.6 jersey with Rynhardt Elstadt filling in for Sikhumbuzo Notshe (shoulder) in the No.7 shirt.
On the bench, meanwhile, Chris van Zyl is over his knee injury to slot in as the lock replacement, fit-again Jurie van Vuuren will provide loose forward cover and inside back Robert du Preez is set for his first taste of Absa Currie Cup action this season.
Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website: “Scarra and Kitsie will provide experience and energy up front and both are deserving of their starts, despite Kitsie joining us this week only.
“I’m also expecting a lot from Chris Cloete, who has made a difference from the bench in recent weeks and although Notshe’s injury is a blow it does give us an opportunity to have a decent look at Chris in the No.6 jersey.”
Looking at the changes amongst the Province backs division, Dobson added: “Demetri has been our first choice flyhalf for some time, but we feel the time is right to give Kurt a go – as was always our intention after four games – and, of course, look at a younger player like Rob du Preez in a bid to give him game time.
“We are very fortunate to have some talented No.10s in this union, each with his own strength, and we need to ensure that each player is given adequate game time to press his selection claims.”
After two weeks on the road, DHL Western Province will play their first home match since mid-August and Dobson said: “It’s always great to be back home at DHL Newlands. Yes, it’s been a tough two weeks, nobody likes losing, but we are not about to panic. Instead, we remain determined to turn things around in front of The Faithful on Saturday.”
Match tickets are still available for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup action at DHL Newlands.
Starting at just R20 for standing room, with seats ranging between R30, R35, R40 and R50, tickets can be bought at Computicket – either online (see our ticketing page, http://wprugby.computicket.com) or in-store – and also from Shoprite/Checkers stores and the DHL Newlands Box Office.
The DHL Western Province Under-19 and Under-21 teams will also both be playing in curtain-raisers against the Leopards (at 12h45 and 14h45, respectively) on Saturday. Match tickets are valid for all three games at DHL Newlands.
The DHL Western Province team for Saturday (v ORC Griquas, home) is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Johnny Kotze
12. Jaco Taute (vice-captain)
11. Seabelo Senatla
10. Kurt Coleman
9. Nic Groom
8. Nizaam Carr (captain)
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Chris Cloete (Absa Currie Cup starting debut for DHL WP)
5. Ruan Botha
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Wilco Louw
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. JP Smith
18. Chris van Zyl
19. Jurie van Vuuren
20. Godlen Masimla
21. Robert du Preez
22. Dillyn Leyds
Referee: Jaco van Heerden