Rikus Pretorius is a hard-running midfielder who will be looking to make a big impact as a ball-carrier and in defence. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Western Province will field a serious attacking strike-force in Saturday’s must-win Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs, with Junior Springbok Rikus Pretorius making his debut.

As expected, coach John Dobson was able to call on Springbok quartet Dillyn Leyds, Damian Willemse, Wilco Louw and Scarra Ntubeni in the starting line-up for the Bloemfontein encounter when he announced the side on Wednesday.

Leyds will wear the No 15 jersey, with Willemse in his preferred flyhalf position in a match that Province have to win to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

But Dobson made a surprising decision to drop Seabelo Senatla to the replacements bench, with SP Marais moving from fullback to left wing.

Marais is ostensibly in the team for his goal-kicking, but Willemse is more than capable of shooting at the posts.

Senatla offers much more on attack, and has always been a courageous defender as well.

Josh Stander is another one from the team that lost 27-23 to Griquas last week who has lost his place, with Willemse at No 10 and Jean-Luc du Plessis the back-up pivot.

Dobson made another big call at inside centre, with the exciting young Pretorius being handed the No 12 jersey.

The former Grey College star is a hard-running midfielder who has been waiting for his chance at senior level, and he will be looking to make a big impact as a ball-carrier and in defence.

“We know that we need to produce a clinical performance on Saturday, and it is a challenge that every single player has embraced this week,” Dobson said on Wednesday.

“We are very excited about what this combination can do, with some talented players coming in this week, and our focus is on making the most of that by being as accurate as possible.”

Western Province Team

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 JD Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Corné Fourie.

Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Nama Xaba, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Seabelo Senatla.


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