Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will finally return to the pitch after a lengthy injury break on Friday, when Western Province take on the Pumas at Newlands.
The 28-year-old loose forward won’t lead WP, though, with lock Chris van Zyl retained as the skipper for the must-win clash on Women’s Day (3pm kickoff).
Kolisi has been out of action since sustaining a knee problem in the 34-22 victory over the Highlanders at Newlands in late May.
He was set to be on the sidelines for about six weeks, but that has grown to nearly 10 as the Bok and Province management have opted for a more conservative approach, with the Rugby World Cup about six weeks away.
Kolisi is assured of his position as Bok captain, but for his own confidence and that of coach Rassie Erasmus, he will look to produce a commanding display against the Pumas on Friday in what will be just his 30th WP game, and his first since 2014.
If he comes through the game unscathed, he could feature for South Africa in the one-off Test against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld next week Saturday.
In other changes to the WP line-up, coach John Dobson will be delighted to have pacy wing Sergeal Petersen back in the starting line-up, after he came off the bench against the Lions in the 30-28 loss at Newlands.
Salmaan Moerat has to move to the bench as JD Schickerling is back at lock – having played at flank against the Lions.
Kolisi’s return sees Ernst van Rhyn at blindside flank, while Springbok Wilco Louw is also back in the No 3 jersey.
“There is no doubt that we have to show our supporters at Newlands that we are really up for this game and play some rugby they can be proud of,” Dobson said on Wednesday.
“We worked hard in the week off, and now it is about going out there on Friday and showing what it means to us to play in this jersey in the Currie Cup.”
Western Province Team
15 Dillyn Leyds 14 Sergeal Petersen 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Dan Kriel 11 Seabelo Senatla 10 Josh Stander 9 Justin Phillips 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 7 Ernst van Rhyn 6 Siya Kolisi 5 JD Schickerling 4 Chris van Zyl (captain) 3 Wilco Louw 2 Scarra Ntubeni 1 Corné Fourie.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon 17 Kwenzo Blose 18 Neethling Fouché 19 Salmaan Moerat 20 Nama Xaba 21 Godlen Masimla 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis 23 Edwill van der Merwe.@ashfakmohamed