Cape Town - Western Province could see their Currie Cup hopes boosted by the return of at least two members of the current Springbok squad when coach Heyneke Meyer culls the current group of players after the Test in Argentina on August 15.
That will serve as the Springboks' final preparations before they jet off to the World Cup in September, and as things stand now it appears as though hooker Scarra Ntubeni and flank Siya Kolisi will not make that trip.
The pair did enough in Super Rugby to earn a place in Meyer's preliminary World Cup squad, but they have not featured in any of the three matches that the Boks have played in so far this season and appear well and truly out of favour.
"I'm getting more optimistic because it doesn't seem like a couple of our players are involved ... thinking of Siya (Kolisi) and Scarra (Ntubeni) in particular," WP coach John Dobson said on Monday.
"That would be campaign-changing for the Currie Cup. They're such positive, keen individuals and they epitomize Province's ethos so it will be fantastic if they came back.
"That being said, I don't want to wish them not going to the World Cup."
Kolisi, in particular, would be a welcomed boost to the union with Dobson having stated his concerns in the loose forward department.
"The loose forward depth, for a union like ours which has a famous tradition of loose forwards, is a bit thin," said Dobson.
"Josh Katzen is out for the season, which is a real blow. He's actually having both shoulders operated on now and I'm very sorry about that because the glimpses that he showed against the Pumas (two weeks ago) for a guy who hadn't played for 18 months were extraordinary.
"He was going to be a major player in the Currie Cup this year, I think."
WP open their Currie Cup account against Griquas on August 7.