Johannesburg - Western Province have suffered a double blow ahead of their Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Just three days after Tiaan Liebenberg was sidelined by a back injury it announced that hooker Scarra Ntubeni, would also be out for two weeks with a calf injury.
Rookie Stephan Coetzee is set to step in as replacement and earn his debut in the starting line-up, while Varsity Cup star Neil Rautenbach has been named as cover on the substitutes' bench.
WP coach Allister Coetzee said it was a strange injury pattern that developed in recent months when players in one position seemed to be afflicted.
"We've seen in the past that a string of injuries occur in one position and it seems it is the turn of hookers now," said Coetzee on Thursday.
"Stephan has played off the bench previously and Neil has been training with us so we're feeling good about our match-day squad. Scarra suffered a small tear in a calf muscle during training on Tuesday."
Scans have revealed that Liebenberg has not suffered a major injury but Coetzee said that medical staff could not say when he would return to fitness.
"We are unable to put a time frame for Tiaan's return and everything depends on how he responds to treatment. He will be assessed on a weekly basis," said Coetzee.
In midfield, WP has opted for an unchanged combination even though Jaco Taute had strong selection claims, both as a centre or fullback.
"Jaco has not been training for three weeks and we felt it was best to ease him back to action by playing him off the bench," said Coetzee.
"I have full confidence in Cheslin Kolbe at fullback. He is the man who will punish the Bulls if they kick poorly against us, and we expect the Bulls to put up contestable high balls."
There was no specialist eighthman cover on the bench but Coetzee said flank Siya Kolisi had been earmarked for that role.
"Should we need to replace the scrumhalf during the match, we move Siya from the side of the scrum," said Coetzee.
At flyhalf, Demetri Catrakilis holds on to the starting berth although Kurt Coleman has regained fitness.
WP skipper Juan de Jongh felt that both pivots could contribute to the team's aspirations.
"We have a situation now where both flyhalves are in form. Both can keep us on the front foot and that helps to retain momentum going forward," said De Jongh.
Ruan Botha returns from injury and has been named on the bench and will provide lock cover when either Manuel Carizza or Jean Kleyn are withdrawn.
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn , 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain), 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak
Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Ruan Botha, 19. Rynhardt Elstadt, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Jaco Taute
15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann(captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus Van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel