Cape Town - There are six changes to the Western Province starting line-up for their Currie Cup semi-final against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (18:00 kick-off).
The Springbok duo of centre Juan de Jongh and hooker Bongi Mbonambi both return from national duty, for what will be a replay of last year’s semi-final, which Western Province won 23-18 in Pretoria.
De Jongh starts at outside centre alongside the fit-again Huw Jones in midfield. There are two other changes to the backline as Dewaldt Duvenage returns from a hamstring injury to take his place at scrumhalf, whilst Werner Kok starts on the right wing, with Scott van Breda on the replacements bench.
The only changes to the forward pack come in the front row as Mbonambi lines up next to experienced loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg.
There are also some changes to the bench with JD Schickerling making his return from a shoulder injury and Stefan Willemse providing loose forward cover.
Ahead of what will be their seventh consecutive Currie Cup semi-final, Western Province will be aiming to make it their fifth consecutive final when they take on the Blue Bulls.
Western Province coach John Dobson said that the returning players have provided a significant boost ahead of the knock-out phase of the competition.
“All of the players coming in are top quality, so it has been a great week of training in preparation for the trip up to Loftus," he told the WP Rugby website.
“We know that we will have to play our best game of the season in order to book our place in a fifth consecutive Currie Cup final, and the players have embraced that challenge,” he said.
15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Bjorn Basson/Nic de Jager
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Johnny Kotze, 23 Scott van Breda