Western Province have been forced to name a severely depleted team for their match against the touring Lions at Newlands this Saturday, due to a combination of injuries and Springbok call-ups. Luke Watson has been named as skipper of the team, a role that he will perform during the Currie Cup season as well.
The team will feature a completely new lock pairing against the Lions, with regulars Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Hilton Lobberts and AJ Venter all unavailable. Anton van Zyl will wear the number 5 jersey, with former SA Under 20 lock Martin Muller as his partner. Brok Harris will provide the tourists with token resistance at tighthead, while Wicus Blaauw and Tiaan Liebenberg make up the balance of the tight five. Pieter Louw takes over from Schalk Burger at openside flank, with the Super 14 pairing of Duane Vermeulen and Watson continuing at blindside and number 8 respectively.
There’s a welcome return to the 22 for Shimmie Shimange, who’ll be the reserve hooker. JD Moller is also on the bench, together with a pair of fresh faces from Maties in lock De Kock Steenkamp and loose forward Zandre Jordaan.
Dewaldt Duvenage will look to carry on from where he left off in the Super 14 as he wears the number 9 jersey, while poor Peter Grant seems destined to be played out of position at inside centre to accommodate the journeyman Willem de Waal. The latter, by the way, has been called up to join the Emerging Springbok side to face the Lions, since Burton Francis has been ruled out by injury. New Bok sensation Morgan Newman will be at outside centre, while Gcobani Bobo and Tondie Chavanga will operate on the wing.
Joe Pietersen is at fullback, arguably his best position. Conrad Hoffman, JJ Engelbrecht and Sevens Bok Gio Aplon are the backline reserves.
The WPRU seem to be struggling to shift tickets for this fixture, but seeing as they’re expecting folk to shell out close to 300 bucks to watch a weakened WP side get stuffed by the Lions, that’s not particularly surprising, especially in these tough economic times.
WP v Lions:
15. Joe Pietersen 14. Tonderai Chavhanga 13. Morgan Newman 12. Peter Grant 11. Gcobani Bobo 10. Willem De Waal 9. Dewaldt Duvenage 8. Luke Watson (C) 7. Duane Vermeulen 6. Pieter Louw 5. Anton Van Zyl 4. Martin Muller 3. Brok Harris 2. Tiaan Liebenberg 1. Wicus Blaauw
16. Hanyani Shimange 17. JD Moller 18. De Kock Steenkamp 19. Zandre Jordaan 20. Conrad Hoffmann 21. JJ Engelbrecht 22. Gio AplonTweet