Cape Town - The Pumas have made most of their changes in the backline for Saturday’s Currie Cup fixture against Western Province at Newlands as they search for an elusive first victory in the competition.
Centre Hoffman Maritz, who was the Pumas' Currie Cup Player of the Year in 2015, makes his first appearance of this year’s campaign after recovering from surgery on a hamstring tear.
Maritz will slot in at outside centre, with Hennie Skorbinski moving to number 12 and Marlou van Niekerk dropping out of the squad with an ankle injury. Having served a one match suspension, Tyler Fisher is on the bench as backline cover.
"Hoffman is one guy we’ve really missed this season and it’s exciting to have him back. We’ll look to him to really shore up the midfield and provide some impact with ball in hand," said Pumas coach MJ Mentz.
Ruwellyn Isbell, who injected spark into the backline as a substitute against the Blue Bulls, has earned a starting spot at right wing ahead of Bernado Botha, who is out of the match day squad.
There is one confirmed change to the forward pack so far, with Khwezi Mona coming in for De-Jay Tereblanche at loosehead prop.
Mentz said that his team’s run of five losses stems from a lack of execution rather than the wrong game plan.
"There hasn’t been a single game where we feel we correctly executed the things we do in training. We’ve done a lot of work on set pieces in training as this is an area which has let us down. We’ll also look to keep the ball in hand and play with some freedom," said Mentz.
The match at Newlands kicks off at 17:10.
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Substitutes: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Scott van Breda
15 Devon Williams, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (captain), 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Stephan Greef, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Khwezi Mona
Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De Jay Terblanche, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Heinrich Steyl, 22 Tyler Fisher