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Scarra Ntubeni to earn his 50th cap for Western Province

09 August 2017 - 10:17 By Craig Ray
Scarra Ntubeni during the DHL Stormers training session at High Performance Centre on July 18, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Scarra Ntubeni during the DHL Stormers training session at High Performance Centre on July 18, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Hooker Scarra Ntubeni will earn his 50th Western Province cap when he comes off the bench against Griquas on Wednesday as the tournament is played midweek for the first time in the professional era.

The Women’s Day fixtures are the first time since 1991 that Currie Cup matches have been scheduled outside of a weekend.

Back in 1991 there was a play-off match between the Blue Bulls and Transvaal on a Tuesday after both teams had finished the season on the same log points.

In Kimberley‚ Griquas will be hunting their first victory of the season‚ while WP will look to build on their first win last weekend.

History favours the Capetonians‚ who have won all seven matches between the sides dating back to the 2012 season.

WP coach John Dobson has made seven changes to the starting line-up that did duty in the 34-19 victory against the Pumas at Newlands last week.

"We know that we are in for a serious test up in Kimberley‚ but the players have embraced the challenge and are excited to show what we are capable of‚” Dobson said. 

"We have some talented players‚ so the challenge for us will be to perform as a unit‚" he said.

Free State will aim to stretch their Currie Cup winning streak to 14 games‚ which included a perfect season on their way to the title in 2016‚ when they meet the Pumas in Nelspruit.

The Cheetahs enjoyed a bye last weekend while the Pumas gave WP a tough time at Newlands.

The Pumas have an impressive track record against the defending champions. In their last four encounters‚ the Bloemfontein side have won only one match‚ and drawn one.

Both sides have made a number of changes to their starting line-ups‚ with the hosts fielding a new front row and halfback pairing among the changes‚ while Jasper Wiese will debut for the Free Staters at No 8‚ and Niell Jordaan will lead the team in the absence of Francois Venter, who is in the Springbok squad.

The match-up between the Blue Bulls and Sharks in Pretoria will be exciting‚ as both sides will enter the match high on confidence.

The hosts come off two 50-point hauls and remain unbeaten‚ while the Sharks bounced back strongly from their round-one defeat with back-to-back victories.

Interestingly‚ the KwaZulu-Natalians have won four of the last five matches between the sides since 2013.

Junior Springbok utility back Manie Libbok will make his Blue Bulls debut‚ while Springbok wing Jamba Ulengo returns from injury in the notable changes to coach Nollis Marais’ team.

Sharks coach Robert du Preez has named Franco Marais‚ Tera Mtembu and Inny Radebe as replacements for Chiliboy Ralepelle‚ Daniel du Preez‚ and Curwin Bosch‚ who are in the Springbok squad.

- TimesLIVE