Lions to face Western Province’s big guns

Western Province have hauled out their big guns for the Currie Cup clash against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Several first-choice players who were rested in last week’s fixture against Boland have been included in the run-on XV.

Peter Grant (flyhalf), Juan de Jongh (centre), Anton van Zyl (lock), Wicus Blaauw (prop) and Duane Vermeulen (flank) have all been called up for what will be Province’s strongest available line-up.

In-form wing Gio Aplon returns from injury and will start on the substitutes’ bench. Province coach Allister Coetzee said Aplon would be best off on the bench as he’ll need time to get back into action.

Australian import Matt To’oomua has made way for Peter Grant in the flyhalf position even though he has been impressive since his arrival in the Mother City.

Coetzee said Grant’s experience and his ability on defence makes him an excellent choice in the pivot position.

Province have already secured a home semifinal berth but they have an excellent chance of topping the log after next week’s round round of Currie Cup league matches.

If Province succeed on that score they’ll be in the running to stage the final should they win their semifinal clash. Province and Sharks, who occupy the top two log positions have 49 points each ahead of this weekend’s round of matches.

However, Province have a better points difference and top the log. Victory plus a bonus point for Province will almost certainly guarantee them the top position, even if the Sharks bag five points from their clash against Griquas in Kimberley.

If, however, Province beat the Lions without collecting a bonus points and the Sharks come away with five points, the Natalians will finish as log-leaders.

The Western Province team:

Joe Pietersen, Tonderai Chavhanga, Frikkie Welsh, Juan de Jongh, Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Luke Watson (captain), Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Andries Bekker, Anton van Zyl, JC Kritzinger, Tiaan Liebenberg and Wicus Blaauw.

Reserves: Deon Fourie, JD Moller, De Kock Steenkamp, Pieter Louw, Dewaldt Duvenhage, Matt To’omua and Gio Aplon.

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