Cape Town - Springbok training squad members Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff will both start in the front row for Western Province in Saturday's Currie Cup clash against Griquas at Newlands (17:05 kick-off).
Ntubeni replaces Bongi Mbonambi at hooker, whilst Kitshoff comes in for Ali Vermaak at loosehead prop, with coach John Dobson making a total of five personnel changes to the starting line-up that went down 21-28 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Friday.
The other changes to the WP starting XV see Nic Groom and Kurt Coleman team up at halfback, whilst livewire flank Chris Cloete will start in the No 6 jersey with Rynhardt Elstadt filling in for Sikhumbuzo Notshe (shoulder) in the No 7 shirt.
On the bench, meanwhile, Chris van Zyl is over his knee injury to slot in as the lock replacement, fit-again Jurie van Vuuren will provide loose forward cover and inside back Robert du Preez is set for his first taste of Currie Cup action this season, with Demetri Catrakilis left out completely.
“Scarra and Kitsie will provide experience and energy up front and both are deserving of their starts, despite Kitsie joining us this week only,” Dobson told the WP Rugby website.
“I’m also expecting a lot from Chris Cloete, who has made a difference from the bench in recent weeks and although Notshe’s injury is a blow it does give us an opportunity to have a decent look at Chris in the No 6 jersey.”
Looking at the changes amongst the WP backs division, Dobson added: “Demetri has been our first choice flyhalf for some time, but we feel the time is right to give Kurt a go - as was always our intention after four games - and, of course, look at a younger player like Rob du Preez in a bid to give him game time.
“We are very fortunate to have some talented No 10s in this union, each with his own strength, and we need to ensure that each player is given adequate game time to press his selection claims.”
After two weeks on the road, Western Province will play their first home match since mid-August and Dobson said: “It’s always great to be back home at Newlands. Yes, it’s been a tough two weeks, nobody likes losing, but we are not about to panic. Instead, we remain determined to turn things around in front of the faithful on Saturday.”
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Jaco Taute, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr (captain), 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. JP Smith, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Godlen Masimla, 21. Robert du Preez, 22. Dillyn Leyds
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 RJ Liebenberg, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jaco Nepgen, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts.
Substitutes: 16 AJ Le Roux, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 19 Jonathan Adendorf, 20 Leon Karemaker, 21 Gouws Prinsloo, 22 Jacquin Jansen