CAPE TOWN: World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament Juarno Augustus will make his senior debut for Western Province if he comes off the replacements bench in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarter-final against the Free State Cheetahs XV at Green Point Track on Sunday.
Having secured top seeding heading into the play-offs after going through the league phase of the competition unbeaten, Western Province have home advantage in the clash which kicks off at 3:15pm on Sunday.
There will be a festival of rugby at Green Point Track with the action starting at 10:30am when hosts SK Walmers take on Belhar RFC in a club game, which will be followed by a SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarter-final between the Blue Bulls and the Sharks XV at 12:45pm, before Western Province face the visitors from Bloemfontein.
Coach John Dobson has been forced to make a number of changes to the team due to injuries and call-ups to the Stormers ahead of the knock-out phase of the competition.
In the front row a fit-again Caylib Oosthuizen joins hooker Dean Muir and the versatile Michael Kumbirai who moves across to tighthead prop, with Chad Solomon, Piet-Louw Strauss and Frans van Wyk providing cover on the replacements bench.
Jurie van Vuuren and Eduard Zandberg continue their partnership in the second row, while in the loose trio Johan du Toit comes back into the starting line-up to join skipper Eital Bredenkamp and No 8 Jaco Coetzee, with Luke Stringer and Augustus set to make an impact as replacements.
There is a new halfback pairing with Godlen Masimla linking up with Kurt Coleman and Herschel Jantjies and Brandon Thomson amongst the replacements.
Sevens star Ruhan Nel is back at inside centre and forms a midfield combination with Michal Hazner, while there are no changes to the back three with wings Marcello Sampson and Bjorn Basson either side of fullback Craig Barry.
Dobson said that his team are looking forward to playing some knock-out rugby in front of their home fans at Green Point Track on Sunday.
"This team has worked incredibly hard this season, so we want to make the most of our home advantage in the playoffs.
"The Free State Cheetahs have played some good rugby this season, so we will have to be at our best to book a semi-final spot," he said.
Western Province Team
15 Craig Barry, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Michal Hazner, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Eital Bredenkamp (captain), 5 Eduard Zandberg, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Piet-Louw Strauss, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Brandon Thomson.