WP team shrinking - Coetzee
Cape Town - Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has only 22 fit players for match selection, he said at Wednesday's team announcement.
The side had been hard hit by injuries and Coetzee said he had little choice but to rest some of the regular players for Saturday's Currie Cup match against the Sharks in Durban.
"At this stage, given all the injuries in the squad, it is important to have the players at training, and presently, there are only 22 fit players in the squad," said Coetzee.
"I've given (lock) Hilton Lobberts a rest, because he's played in every match, and the same is with (fullback) Conrad Jantjes. Outside the match-day 22, there are no other players in this province.
"I'm happy to say that our young players have done well, and have proved that they can play at Currie Cup level, but they're facing a daunting task, playing against the Sharks, and away from home."
Coetzee said the youngsters in his side would be excited about the prospects of facing a Sharks side packed with players with international experience.
The internationals in the Sharks' squad include Springboks Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Alistair Hargreaves, Marius Joubert, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo and Frenchman Frederic Michalak.
Michalak booted the KZN side to victory in their first-round meeting at Newlands last month. At the time, Michalak scored all the Sharks' points in their 21-19 victory.
"There is no point in worrying about who will shine for the Sharks because they have a formidable all-round team," said Coetzee.
"They have not been in the best of form and in recent weeks their play has been patchy at times.
"But they'll be up against the (Super Rugby) SA Conference winners and that should lift the game, in much the same way other teams do against Western Province."
Jantjes's place will be taken by Heinrich Steyl, who made a brief debut appearance off the bench last week.
At centre, Johann Sadie is nursing a thigh injury and has made way for Berton Klaasen. Both Sadie and Jantjes will play off the bench.
Among the forwards, Nick Koster is down as a substitute, but there is still uncertainty about a neck injury he sustained in the match against the Cheetahs last week.
Nizaam Carr will receive a starting berth in the place of Koster.
If Koster does not recover in time, Pieter Louw will take his place on the bench.
JC Kritzinger moves in at loosehead at the expense of JD Moller, while Adriaan Fondse will take the place of Lobberts.
Isma-eel Dollie has regained fitness, but was unable to land a place in the squad even though Coetzee said on Wednesday there were only 22 fit players in Cape Town.Teams:Sharks:
15. Heinrich Steyl, 14. Danie Poolman, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Marcel Brache, 11. JJ Engelbrecht, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Nick Fenton-Wells, 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Adriaan Fondse, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg (captain), 1. JC Kritzinger
Substitutes: 16. Deon Fourie, 17. Frans Malherbe, 18. Tertius Daniller, 19. Nick Koster/Pieter Louw, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Johann Sadie, 22. Conrad Jantjes