Western Province will have Juan de Jongh and Bongi Mbonambi, who recently returned from international duty, in their ranks for their Currie Cup clash, in Kimberley, against Griquas, on Friday night.
Both De Jongh and Mbonambi come straight into the starting line-up at outside centre and hooker respectively, with EW Viljoen out injured and Mike Willemse providing hooker cover from the bench this week.
It’s an all-international centre pairing for DHL WP, as De Jongh partners Scottish international, Huw Jones in the midfield, while Mbonambi slots between JC Janse van Rensburg and Wilco Louw in a new look front row.
Aside from the inclusion of De Jongh, the only other starting backline change is the inclusion of experienced scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage in his first start of the season, in for the injured, Godlen Masimla. On the bench and providing cover, Jano Vermaak makes a timely return from injury.
In the pack, DHL WP captain, Chris van Zyl, continues his successful lock combination with Jan de Klerk, while there is a shake-up in the loose trio which sees Nizaam Carr shift to No.8, Kobus van Dyk move to blindside flank and Rynhardt Elstadt return to the side in the No.6 jersey. David Ribbans (lock) and Jurie van Vuuren (loose-forward) provide cover from the bench.
DHL Western Province coach John Dobson said he expects the inclusion of Springboks De Jongh and Mbonambi to make an immediate impact in what is a must win clash.
“We appreciate the importance of the game, and how hard this game traditionally is without the play off pressure. Griquas are very much in contention for a semifinal, and they will need to beat us, plus they are having their anniversary celebrations,” Dobson said.
“But we probably have a our best side that we have had this season at the right time of the season. Bongi and Juan are two unique characters, real warriors, who were very keen to play and contribute to the cause, given the injuries, which speaks volumes to their character. The whole team picked up energy from their presence.
“We know that Griquas will be physical, that they have massive linespeed and will test us with some high balls. But I have confidence in both our plans and our players. The team is excited and keen to do the Province proud.”
The match kicks off at 7pm on Friday in Kimberley.
DHL Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 Dave Ribbans, 20 Jurie van Vuuren, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze