Cape Town – Western Province have made four changes, one enforced, to their match-day 22 for the Currie Cup clash against Eastern Province Kings at Newlands on Friday night.
Left wing Seabelo Senatla is nursing an ankle injury and has been replaced by Pat Howard, a centre who also has experience on the wing.
Howard had been plagued by injury over the past few months but returned to action against the Kings in the opening round of the competition in early August.
Province coach Allister Coetzee, after repeatedly emphasising the value of continuity in selection, made a surprise move benching vice-captain Pat Cilliers in favour of prop Brok Harris.
At lock, Manuel Carizza makes way for Ruan Botha whose return to the starting XV is welcome after warming the bench for the past two matches.
In the only other team change, scrumhalf Louis Schreuder finally gets a run-on berth at the expense of Nic Groom, the preferred number-nine for the first four matches of the season.
“Nic Groom has played almost all the games for us this year and Louis is a good player who has regained fitness, so I think it is fair that he gets a chance to start now,” Coetzee said on Wednesday.
On the bench, South African Sevens star Justin Geduld replaces Howard.
The 20-year-old Geduld has a glittering CV in the 15-man code, having played centre for the South African under-20s and several Western Province age-group sides.
Coetzee felt Geduld was a player in the same mould as the magical Senatla.
“In terms of what Seabelo brought to our game, we feel that Justin might be equipped to bring that as well. He has played fullback but he can also play centre and wing,” Coetzee said.
“He has all the attributes we need for an outside back, and hopefully he will bring elements we may miss with Seabelo not being there.
“Obviously we had to replace Seabelo, but the likes of Brok, Ruan and Louis will all come in with minimal disruption and Justin Geduld's addition is an exciting one, given that he is able to cover so many positions from the bench.”
Western Province team: Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (captain), Jaco Taute, Pat Howard, Demetri Catrakilis, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Ruan Botha, Jean Kleyn, Brok Harris, Stephan Coetzee, Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Pat Cilliers, Manuel Carizza, Rynhardt Elstadt, Nic Groom, Kurt Coleman, Justin Geduld. – Sapa