WP had to pick Boks - Coetzee
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - There is an element of risk in making eight changes to his team this week, admits Western Province coach Allister Coetzee, but he concedes there is no alternative.
Coetzee included all seven of the side's returning Springboks when he named the WP team on Wednesday for the Currie Cup encounter against the Cheetahs in Cape Town on Saturday.
"There will always be a risk in (selection) decisions but I feel this is the best way of going about it," Coetzee said.
"We need to win this weekend and therefore we have to play the Boks."
Jean de Villiers, who will captain the side, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Andries Bekker and Tiaan Liebenberg were all recalled after they were included in the Springbok squad for the home leg of the Rugby Championship.
WP, lying third in the standings, are not guaranteed a place in the domestic playoffs and will be gunning for victory to ensure they avoid the relegation zone.
"Promotion/relegation has never been a part of the WP vocabulary, and the Boks know full well that they have a responsibility to get Province into the semi-final," Coetzee said.
"The Boks share our ambitions and they're all eager to throw their weight behind the Province cause.
"We had to use youngsters and we've had loads of injuries, and we're pleased that the players who carried the campaign in the absence of the Boks did well to give us a chance to make the semis."
Gio Aplon, who started training earlier this week after recovering from an ankle injury, was named on the bench as cover at fullback and wing.
"I've looked at Gio's case and he's better off on the bench," Coetzee said.
"He's only had limited time with us this week so he's not quite ready for a starting line-up place."
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Gio Aplon
Free State Cheetahs
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Francois Uys, 6 Hendro Scholtz, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Rayno Benjamin