Midweek Currie Cup action headlined by clash between Western Province and Bulls
The Bulls and Western Province will renew their intense and storied rivalry during their traditional north-south Currie Cup showdown at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.
They go into this clash brimming with confidence after Western Province beat the Lions and the Bulls pulled off an away win to the Pumas in Mbombela last weekend.
For the home team, Marcel Theunissen will start at flank in one of three changes to their forward pack, but coach coach Jerome Paarwater has not tempered with the backline that started in the 48-36 win over the Lions.
Theunissen will be joined in the loose trio by skipper Nama Xaba and Keke Morabe with Simon Miller shifting to the second row as they will be looking to move to the top of the standings.
Experienced prop Ali Vermaak will make his return from injury on the bench and tighthead prop Corne Weilbach, hooker Jacques Goosen and loose forwards Jarrod Taylor and Roelof Smit are in line to make their senior debuts.
Paarwater said they are looking to improve from their win over the Lions.
“It has been a very short turnaround between games, but our combinations should be a little more settled, so hopefully we will see more cohesion,” he said.
“We have managed to keep some continuity in selection and the players are all keen to reward the fans who come out to support us with some good rugby.”
For the visitors, coach Gert Smal named latest recruit Cyle Brink in his starting line-up to make his debut for the side as they will also be going all out for their second victory in succession.
In his starting line-up, Smal has included prop Simphiwe Matanzima, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and flanker Marcell Coetzee, who will captain the side, as part of a powerful pack of forwards.
Veteran Morne Steyn will lead the backline which includes the centre pairing of Harold Vorster and Lionel Mapoe, andthe back three will be made up of Sibongile Novuka and Canan Moodie with James Verity-Amm at fullback.
“We are up for a big challenge against a good DHL Western Province side, who are always very dangerous when playing at home. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to blend some valuable experience with exciting youthful talent for this important fixture,” said Smal.
“We are looking forward to a tough physical battle and some entertaining rugby which we have become accustomed to when these two sides face each other.”
In other matches on Wednesday, the Lions take on Pumas at Ellis Park in Johannesburg while the Griquas will be away to the Sharks at Kings Park Stadium in Durban.
Western Province: Tristan Leyds, Angelo Davids, Leolin Zas, Cornel Smit, Paschal Ekeji, Tim Swiel, Thomas Bursey, Keke Morabe, Marcel Theunissen, Nama Xaba, Simon Miller, Connor Evans, Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, Chad Solomon, Kwenzo Blose
Replacements: Jacques Goosen, Ali Vermaak, Corne Weilbach, Jarrod Taylor, Roelof Smit, Godlen Masimla, Chris Schreuder, Mnombo Zwelendaba
Bulls team: Simphiwe Matanzima, Bismarck du Plessis, Robert Hunt, Sintu Manjezi, Janko Swanepoel, Marcell Coetzee, Cyle Brink, Muller Uys, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Morne Steyn, Sibongile Novuka, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Canan Moodie, James Verity-Amm
Replacements: Schalk Erasmus, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Sebastian Lombard, Reinardt Ludwig, WJ Steenkamp, Keagan Johannes, FC du Plessis, Stedman Gans