CAPE TOWN – Western Province coach John Dobson has made five changes to his team to face the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday (3.05pm kickoff).
Loosehead prop Ali Vermaak is one of those five changes, and the front-rower will earn his 50th cap for WP when he packs down alongside hooker Ramone Samuels and tighthead Wilco Louw.
Prop Michael Kumbirai will offer cover on the bench, and with Scarra Ntubeni injured again and Bongi Mbonambi on Springbok duty, Chad Solomon will provide back-up for Samuels in the No 2 position.
The only other changes to the forwards are on the replacements bench, with Sikhumbuzo Notshe – who is back from a knee problem – and Kobus van Dyk providing loose-forward cover.
In the backline, scrumhalf Jano Vermaak returns to form the halfback pairing with flyhalf Damian Willemse, while Craig Barry will make his Currie Cup debut at fullback and Werner Kok will get his chance on the wing.
Dobson said that after the bye week, his team are determined to make a strong start to the second half of their campaign. “It is vital that we produce some good rugby this weekend in order to gain some momentum going forward.
“The players are determined to show what they are capable of, and are looking forward to the opportunity to play at Newlands,” he said.
Western Province Team
15 Craig Barry, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Michael Kumbirai, 18 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Dan Kriel.