CAPE TOWN - Damian Willemse will get an opportunity to impress Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus by turning out for Western Province this weekend.
WP take on Griquas at Newlands on Saturday night (7.30pm), and it presents a chance for Willemse to stake a claim for the remaining Rugby Championship games against Australia and New Zealand.
It will be interesting to see if Willemse plays at flyhalf or fullback for Province, as there could be a potential gap at fullback in the Bok side.
Incumbent Willie le Roux has also been released to his English club Wasps for their match against Sale on Saturday, and he has said in media reports that he is not sure if he will be released by his team for the last two Bok Tests.
In this regard, though, Erasmus will be delighted that another fullback option, Cheslin Kolbe, will be able to rest up in Cape Town this week instead of going back to his French club Toulouse.
Francois Louw is the other overseas-based player who has rejoined his club, Bath.
Willemse will be joined in the WP side by Bongi Mbonambi, Wilco Louw and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
Prop Thomas du Toit will play for the Sharks against the Lions, who will gain scrumhalf Ross Cronjé at Kings Park (Saturday, 5.15pm).
The Blue Bulls Presidents XV will be bolstered by Embrose Papier and Marco van Staden for their friendly against Namibia in Windhoek on Saturday.
The Boks released to their provinces/clubs are:
WP: Bongi Mbonambi, Wilco Louw, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Damian Willemse.
Lions: Ross Cronjé.
Sharks: Thomas du Toit.
Blue Bulls: Embrose Papier, Marco van Staden.
Overseas: Willie le Roux (Wasps), Francois Louw (Bath).