Ernst van Rhyn to lead WP in Currie Cup opener against the Bulls
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Lock Ernst van Rhyn will captain Western Province in their Currie Cup campaign and will have his first assignment against the Bulls on Saturday.
The former SA Schools and Junior Springbok captain will lead Province out at Loftus Versfeld for their opener on Saturday. The match kicks off at 4pm.
While the Bulls are going into the match with an inexperienced side (only two players in their match day squad have Currie Cup experience), Province also have to make do without a large chunk of their player group - they will be without 28 of their players due to Springbok involvement, injury or illness.
Hooker JJ Kotze, flank Niel Otto and No 8 Evan Roos, who have all been named in the starting line-up, will all make their Western Province debut, while lock Justin Basson and loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani - on loan to the Cape side - are set to make their first appearance for Province from the bench.
Out wide, Sergeal Petersen will have a go at fullback, with speed machine Seabelo Senatla and the promising Sihle Njezula follow out the back three. Dan du Plessis and Rikus Pretorius will continue their midfield partnership in the opening weekend, with Abner van Reenen and Paul de Wet forming the halfback pairing.
Roos and Otto are joined by Johan du Toit in the loose trio, with David Meihuizen partnering captain Van Rhyn at lock. In the front row, Kotze will have experienced props Ali Vermaak and Neethling Fouche on either side of him.
Province head coach John Dobson said he’s looking forward to seeing how their combinations go in the North-South clash.
"It is always a challenge playing up at Loftus and we know that we will have to be at our best to start with a win.
"We have got some really exciting players and combinations in the team and we are looking forward to seeing what they can produce on Saturday," he said.
Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Sihle Njezula, 13 Rikus Pretorius, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Niel Otto, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements (from): 16 Sazi Sandi, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Cornel Smit, 24 Jason Alexander, 25 De Wet Marais, 26 Chris Schreuder.