Cape Town - Coach Allister Coetzee says that there is little to choose between Western Province and the Sharks when the two teams lock horns in the Currie Cup final at Newlands on Saturday.
There was huge relief in the Western Province camp when captain and talisman Deon Fourie was declared fit for the match when Coetzee made his team announcement.
"I'm pleased to say that Deon is fine and there is no doubt he'll be playing in the final," Coetzee said on Wednesday.
"If he needs more time he can wait until the Captain's Run on Friday but he will be ready to play and has improved tremendously this week."
Fourie suffered muscle spasms after taking a knock to his neck which resulted in a shoulder injury.
He would be the back-up hooker in Saturday's match-day 22, but would do front row duty if the need arose.
Wing Gerhard van den Heever was the only other Province injury concern and he sat out at Wednesday's training session.
“Gerhard is just being rested as a precautionary measure," Coetzee said.
"His groin muscles are a bit tight but he will also be okay for Saturday."
With Fourie and Van den Heever fit, Coetzee opted to name an unchanged side from the team which beat the Golden Lions in last week's semi-final.
The unchanged line-up means Springbok centre Juan de Jongh would again play off the bench as Coetzee felt he could make a telling impact later in the match.
"There is already great excitement in the city and the players can feel the emotion," Coetzee said.
"We need to stay focused on getting the job done.
"We're up against one of the best Sharks teams, one which is Springbok-laden.
"In my book there are no favourites for the game because the teams are so evenly matched."
With ticket sales going well, the match was likely to be sold out, and Coetzee hoped the home crowd would give Province the edge.
"We've made big strides on attack and the way we've competed at the breakdown collisions. This pack of ours has become dominant and more accurate. They have made some unbelievable decisions when looking at the playing options.
"Another area in which we've improved is the way we attack with turn-over possession.
"The way we are playing now is as a result of the changes we made in the last few games of the Super Rugby season and that strategy has given us more thrust on attack."
Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Jean de Villiers, 12. Damian de
Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Louis Schreuder,
8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock
Steenkamp, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1.
Substitutes: 16. Frans Malherbe, 17. Brok Harris,
18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Schalk Burger, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Kurt Coleman,
22. Juan de Jongh