W.Province bring in their big guns for Semi-final

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has brought his big guns back for their Currie Cup semifinal against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Flanker Rynhardt Elstadt and inside centre Michael van der Spuy are the only starting survivors from last week’s experimental line-up that took on a full-strength Sharks team at Newlands.

Amongst the players recalled by coach Coetzee this week are skipper and centre Juan de Jongh (the team’s leading try-scorer this season), vice-captain and tighthead prop Pat Cilliers, the fit-again pairing of fullback Cheslin Kolbe and lock Jean Kleyn and SA Sevens speedster Seabelo Senatla.

Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will play his 50th match for WP this weekend, with Nic Groom partnering him at halfback.

Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and flyhalf Kurt Coleman, both of whom also reached the 50-game mark this season for WP, revert to the bench this week, where they will be joined by Oli Kebble, Brok Harris, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and young gun EW Viljoen.

“We’ve selected the best possible team to represent Western Province in Saturday’s semifinal,” said Coetzee.

“It’s fantastic to welcome back the likes of Kolbe and Kleyn from injury and to have Seabelo back from Sevens duty but, as with last week, I have faith in every player that goes out there to represent WP.

“I had my starting XV pretty much thought out earlier this week, but we had some tough calls to make on the bench.”

One of the “tough calls” made by Coetzee was opting to select two props this week, whilst the Province boss also revealed that centre Jaco Taute was not considered for selection because of his ongoing rib injury.

“Oli’s ball-carrying could be a factor in the second half on Saturday and not many teams are able to call upon a Brok Harris (with over 200 first-class appearances for WP Rugby) off the bench, ” said Coetzee.

“We are happy that we have ticked all the boxes in terms of selection and are looking forward to Saturday’s encounter against a very confident and much-improved Bulls team.

“Forget any previous results or encounters. Play-offs are a different beast altogether and we won’t be looking back, but rather looking ahead and focusing on our own processes and implementation thereof.”

Western Province

15. Cheslin Kolbe , 14. Kobus van Wyk , 13. Juan de Jongh (c) , 12. Michael van der Spuy , 11. Seabelo Senatla , 10. Demetri Catrakilis (50th cap for WP) , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Nizaam Carr , 7. Michael Rhodes , 6. Rynhardt Elstadt , 5. Manuel Carizza , 4. Jean Kleyn , 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) , 2. Scarra Ntubeni , 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach , 17. Oli Kebble , 18. Brok Harris , 19. Sikhumbuzo Notshe , 20. Louis Schreuder , 21. Kurt Coleman , 22. EW Viljoen

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