Cape Town - Springboks Juan de Jongh and Bongi Mbonambi have been drafted straight into the Western Province starting line-up for Friday’s crucial Currie Cup clash against Griquas in Kimberley.
While Mbonambi was released earlier this week by the Springbok management, WP coach John Dobson successfully applied for De Jongh to be allowed to play for his province due to the injury crisis that the Streeptruie are experiencing in midfield at the moment.
The likes of Daniel du Plessis and EW Viljoen are injured, while Johnny Kotze is coming off an injury and will play off the bench on Friday.
De Jongh, though, is going to run out at No 13 instead of the inside centre berth that he filled for the Springboks in last week’s 41-13 defeat to the All Blacks in Christchurch, as Huw Jones will continue at No 12 against Griquas (7pm kickoff).
De Jongh will bring much-needed leadership and direction to a WP backline that have battled to be finish off opportunities on attack, while his tackling and organisational abilities will shore up a leaky Province defence too.
Mbonambi, who has hardly had any game time with the national team, will have a point to prove to Bok coach Allister Coetzee after he was left out of the match-23 for the All Black Test in favour of Malcolm Marx.
Mbonambi is a busy operator around the field who carries well and has a high work-rate on defence, but he would want to show that his lineout-throwing is also up to scratch, as Marx struggled in that department in New Zealand.
Dobson was also able to welcome back robust loose forward Rynhardt Elstadt from injury, which sees Nizaam Carr shifting to his preferred No 8 spot, with Kobus van Dyk at blindside flank.
In the other changes to the starting line-up, JC Janse van Rensburg comes in at loosehead prop for Alistair Vermaak, while Dewaldt Duvenage moves into the No 9 jersey in place of the injured Godlen Masimla.
Western Province Team
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.
Bench: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Jurie van Vuuren, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze.