DHL WP reveal their semifinal hand

PUBLISHED: October 13, 2015

DHL Western Province head coach John Dobson has announced his team for Friday’s 2015 Absa Currie Cup semifinal clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (kick-off 19h10).

Fullback Cheslin Kolbe, winger Seabelo Senatla, centre Johnny Kotze, scrumhalf Nic Groom, flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, lock Ruan Botha, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi all return to the DHL WP starting XV this week, hardman Elstadt’s return the big news after missing his team’s last four encounters with a thigh problem.

Skipper Juan de Jongh will lead the defending champions into battle in Pretoria, partnering Johnny Kotze in midfield, with Senatla, Dillyn Leyds and Kolbe forming a razor-sharp back three.

Groom and Robert du Preez will combine at halfback, with experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak back on the bench after missing DHL WP’s last two matches with a groin strain.

Prop Oli Kebble has shaken off an ankle injury to be named on the bench, where he is joined by lock Chris van Zyl – who, like Kebble, started last Friday’s 45-14 win over the EP Kings at DHL Newlands.

DHL WP boss John Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website: “Having players like Rynhardt and Jano back in our 22 is a big boost for us, given that they’re both experienced players who have played in games of this nature before.

“Our average (matchday squad) age is just over 23; Dillyn Leyds, Johnny Kotze, Rob du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Wilco Louw, Mikey Willemse, Jurie van Vuuren and Huw Jones are all playing in their first-ever Absa Currie Cup semifinals – so any additional experience can only help those players and, of course, the team on the whole.

“We have had a short week, but it’s been a sharp one as we look to take on a Blue Bulls team that has been excellent at home this season and, thus, deserving of hosting a home semifinal.”

Meanwhile, the DHL WP Under-19s will face up to the Blue Bulls’ U19s in the curtain-raiser to Friday’s senior semifinal at Loftus Versfeld (in their Absa Provincial U19 semifinal), with the DHL WP U21s hosting the Golden Lions in their U21 semifinal at City Park on Saturday (kick-off 14h00).

The DHL Western Province team for Friday (v Vodacom Blue Bulls, away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Dillyn Leyds
13. Johnny Kotze
12. Juan de Jongh (captain)
11. Seabelo Senatla
10. Robert du Preez
9. Nic Groom
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
6. Rynhardt Elstadt
5. Ruan Botha
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Wilco Louw
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Steven Kitshoff

16. Michael Willemse
17. Oli Kebble
18. Chris van Zyl
19. Jurie van Vuuren
20. Jano Vermaak
21. Kurt Coleman
22. Huw Jones

Referee: Lesego ‘Pro’ Legoete