Cape Town - Six players are set make their senior Western Province debut in the opening Currie Cup Qualifier against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Friday.
Centre Daniel du Plessis, wing Sibahle Maxwane, flyhalf Brandon Thomson and flank Luke Stringer will all get their first taste of senior rugby for Western Province, whilst Meyer Swanepoel and Damian Stevens are also set to debut should they feature off the replacements bench.
Western Province coach John Dobson said that the Blue Bulls will present a serious test of his team’s mettle in their first match of the season, which kicks off at 16:15 on Friday, as a curtain-raiser to the Vodacom Super Rugby clash between the Stormers and the Sunwolves.
“We are very excited to start this competition. You don’t get a much more exciting or harder start than to play our traditional rivals, the Blue Bulls at Newlands,” Dobson told the WP Rugby website.
While the depth at Dobson’s disposal has been put to the test, he is confident that his team has the talent to do the famous blue and white jersey proud as they target a strong start to the campaign.
“I think we have an exciting squad with some very talented young players. With the various challenges of other tournaments and injuries, I think we have put together a competitive team.
“They need match practice so there might be a rude awakening in a game of this level, but there certainly is the talent, preparation, willpower and pride in the blue and white hoops to pull it through. We are looking forward to it very much,” he added.
The match will be a curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby game between the Stormers and the Sunwolves.
15 Grant Hermanus, 14 EW Viljoen, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Luke Stringer, 6 Eital Bredenkamp, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 JP Smith, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Meyer Swanepoel, 19 Tertius Daniller, 20 Damian Stevens, 21 Berton Klaassen, 22 JP Lewis
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Franco Naude, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Freddy Ngoza, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli
Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Njabulo Gumede, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Tapiwa Tsomondo, 21 Theo Maree, 22 Kefenste Mahalo