CAPE TOWN – If there is one Currie Cup team that has been disrupted by national duty this week, it’s Western Province.
Earlier this week, Scarra Ntubeni, Wilco Louw and Dillyn Leyds were called up to Pretoria ahead of the Springboks’ farewell Test against Argentina on Saturday, while Bok skipper Siya Kolisi also made his expected return to the national frame.
It will be the fringe players’ last chance to play themselves into the World Cup mix, and while Province will go into their big one against Griquas without some key players, it’s a well-deserved chance for the WP players... even though the call ups meant that coach John Dobson had to make a few late plans to accommodate the call-ups.
SP Marais comes in at fullback in the place of Leyds in the only change to the starting backline, while Damian Willemse will also make his return from injury from the replacements bench.
In the loose trio JD Schickerling is back at blindside flank, with Ernst van Rhyn shifting back to No 6. Salmaan Moerat will start at lock alongside captain Chris van Zyl, while up front prop Carlu Sadie and hooker Chad Solomon come in for Louw and Ntubeni.
Hooker Schalk Erasmus is set to make his WP debut from the bench, with lock David Meihuizen and scrumhalf Paul de Wet also coming into the match 23.
Dobson said that Willemse, who is likely to be used at flyhalf tomorrow, looked ready in his first week of training with the team after being out with a knee injury since June.
“It was his first week training with the team. He has looked really sharp,” Dobson said.
15 SP Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Damian Willemse, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.@WynonaLouw