Western Province name strong Currie Cup Semi-final team

Juan De Jongh will captain Western Province

Western Province coach John Dobson has named a strong team to play in Friday’s 2015 Currie Cup semifinal clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria

Province finished the regular Currie Cup season in third place overall so they travel to Durban to face the Blue Bulls who finished in second place.

The Golden Lions finished on top in first place and will play the Free State Cheetahs at home in Johannesburg.

Province coach Dobson has brought back fullback Cheslin Kolbe, winger Seabelo Senatla, centre Johnny Kotze, flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, lock Ruan Botha, prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Bongi Mbonambi all return to the WP starting XV this week, hardman Elstadt’s return the big news after missing his team’s last four encounters with a thigh problem.

Skipper Juan de Jongh will lead the defending champions into battle in Pretoria, partnering Johnny Kotze in midfield, with Senatla, Dillyn Leyds and Kolbe forming a razor-sharp back three.

Nic Groom and Robert du Preez will comebine at halfback, with experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak back on the bench after missing WP’s last two matches with a groin strain.

Prop Oli Kebble has shaken off an ankle injury to be named on the bench, where he is joined by lock Chris van Zyl – who, like Kebble, started last Friday’s 45-14 win over the EP Kings at Newlands.

“Having players like Rynhardt and Jano back in our 22 is a big boost for us, given that they’re both experienced players who have played in games of this nature before,” said WP boss John Dobson.

“Our average (matchday squad) age is just over 23; Dillyn Leyds, Johnny Kotze, Rob du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Wilco Louw, Mikey Willemse, Jurie van Vuuren and Huw Jones are all playing in their first-ever Absa Currie Cup semifinals – so any additional experience can only help those players and, of course, the team on the whole.

“We have had a short week, but it’s been a sharp one as we look to take on a Blue Bulls team that has been excellent at home this season and, thus, deserving of hosting a home semifinal.”

Western Province

15. Cheslin Kolbe , 14. Dillyn Leyds , 13. Johnny Kotze , 12. Juan de Jongh (captain) , 11. Seabelo Senatla , 10. Robert du Preez , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Nizaam Carr , 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe , 6. Rynhardt Elstadt , 5. Ruan Botha , 4. Jean Kleyn , 3. Wilco Louw , 2. Bongi Mbonambi , 1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: 16. Michael Willemse , 17. Oli Kebble , 18. Chris van Zyl , 19. Jurie van Vuuren , 20. Jano Vermaak , 21. Kurt Coleman , 22. Huw Jones

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