Western Province coach Alister Coetzee has made room for returning Bok Schalk Burger on a 5-man forward bench, as he names his team to take on the Cheetahs this weekend.
Burger has played no rugby since the very start of 2012, with a series of injuries and illnesses conspiring to keep the one time Springbok hard man out of action. While he’s not expected to play for more than a quarter of the match, it will nonetheless be hugely encouraging to see him back on a rugby field, even if he’s understood to be chasing the same sort of Toulon retirement gig that fellow Bok flanker Juan Smith recently signed up to.
Province have made three changes to their starting team this week, welcoming back flanks Deon Fourie and Mike Rhodes, from injury and suspension respectively, but losing Juan de Jongh to the Boks. Fourie replaces Rohan Kitshoff at openside, while Rhodes will wear the seven jersey hastily forced on young Rayn Smid mere minutes before last week’s game against Griquas. Both Smid and Kitshoff fall out of the 22 this week, with under 21 player Josh Katzen retained on the bench, where he’ll sit next to Burger.
Michael van der Spuy starts at outside centre as a repalcement for de Jongh.
Western Province: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Michael van der Spuy, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Tazz Fuzani, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Schalk Burger, 20. Josh Katzen, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Demetri Catrakilis