Fullback and sometimes wing SP Marais is back for the Western Province’s first Currie Cup match with two “newcomers’, flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and top scorer in Varsity Cup history Edwill van der Merwe making their Currie Cup debuts.
Western Province play the Blue Bulls, whom they beat in last year’s semi-final humdinger, and the game will again be at Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 17:15). Considering the players they have lost to national call-ups and injuries, this is a strong team with good experience that includes Super Rugby exposure.
The Western Province website reports that Du Plessis will form a halfback partnership with Justin Phillips, with Dan Kriel and Ruhan Nel in midfield alongside him.
Van der Merwe is on the right wing and will be joined in the back three by Seabelo Senatla and fullback SP Marais.
Loosehead prop Corné Fourie will make his Western Province debut in an experienced front row which also features hooker Scarra Ntubeni and tighthead Wilco Louw, with Chad Solomon, Kwenzo Blose and Carlu Sadie among the replacements.
Captain Chris van Zyl is joined in the second row by Salmaan Moerat, with JD Schickerling set to make his return from injury from the replacements bench.
No.8 Juarno Augustus is also back from injury and is joined in the loose trio by flanks Jaco Coetzee and Ernst van Rhyn.
15 SP Marais, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 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 Carlu Sadie, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry.