CAPE TOWN – Hard-running centre Ruhan Nel has been released from the Springbok squad and will turn out for Western Province in their big Currie Cup showdown with the Sharks at Newlands.
Nel was called up by Bok coach Rassie Erasmus for the home leg of the Rugby Championship, but was left out of the match-23 for Saturday’s clash against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
So, the 27-year-old former Blitzbok star will have a point to prove when he comes up against the Sharks midfield of Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward on Saturday (2pm kickoff).
Nel will be partnered by Jesse Kriel’s brother Dan in the centres, with WP coach John Dobson making eight changes in total to the side that saw off Griquas 38-12 last week.
Dillyn Leyds is reinstated at fullback, with Damian Willemse at the Boks, while SP Marais and Jano Vermaak return at left wing and scrumhalf respectively.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe will start at No 8 for the Boks in PE, so Kobus van Dyk moves to openside flank for Province, with Ernst van Rhyn taking over at No 7.
There is a new-look tight-five as well, with JD Schickerling, Michael Kumbirai, Scarra Ntubeni and Ali Vermaak joining captain Chris van Zyl.
“This will be a tough game between two good teams who are yet to lose this season, so we are grateful to have home advantage at Newlands,” Dobson said on Thursday.
“We have prepared well for this game, and will be going all out in what will be our last home game before the knockout stages.”
Teams For Newlands
Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds 14 Sergeal Petersen 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Dan Kriel 11 SP Marais 10 Josh Stander 9 Jano Vermaak 8 Juarno Augustus 7 Ernst van Rhyn 6 Kobus van Dyk 5 JD Schickerling 4 Chris van Zyl (captain) 3 Michael Kumbirai 2 Scarra Ntubeni 1 Ali Vermaak.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon 17 Caylib Oosthuizen 18 Carlu Sadie 19 Salmaan Moerat 20 Chris Massyn 21 Herschel Jantjies 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
Here is your #DHLWP team that will be looking to make it five straight wins in the Currie Cup this season when they take on the Cell C Sharks at #DHLNewlands on Saturday. See you there! #wpjoulekkerding #WeStandTogether pic.twitter.com/q7sqCm1Vit
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch 14 Kobus van Wyk 13 Jeremy Ward 12 Marius Louw 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Robert du Preez 9 Louis Schreuder 8 Daniel du Preez 7 Tyler Paul 6 Jacques Vermeulen 5 Hyron Andrews 4 Gideon Koegelenberg 3 Thomas du Toit 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain) 1 Juan Schoeman.
Bench: 16 Akker van der Merwe 17 Coenie Oosthuizen 18 Ruben van Heerden 19 Luke Stringer 20 Cameron Wright 21 Leolin Zas 22 Aphelele Fassi.