DHL Western Province will kick-off their Absa Currie Cup title defence with three starting debutants in the team to face the Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday (17:05).
Outside centre Pat Howard, left-wing Cheslin Kolbe and lock Gerbrandt Grobler will all be starting at Currie Cup level for the first time, whilst, on the bench, props Alistair Vermaak and Pat Cilliers and utility forward Michael Rhodes will play their first Currie Cup matches for WP.
Howard made three appearances – all from the bench – in last year’s Currie Cup, whilst Kolbe, Grobler, Rhodes and Vermaak have all played Vodacom Cup rugby for Western Province. Cilliers, meanwhile, will make his WP debut after moving to Cape Town at the start of 2013.
Flanker Deon Fourie will captain the team from the No 6 jersey, with 2013 DHL Stormers representatives, Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever, Damian de Allende, Gary van Aswegen, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Ruan Kitshoff, Michael Rhodes, De Kock Steenkamp, Gerbrandt Grobler, Pat Cilliers, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff, all in the matchday squad.
DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee said: “We’re looking ahead to the 2013 Absa Currie Cup season – it’s another great opportunity (for us) to unearth some new talent.
“North-South derbies are always big games and we’re not expecting anything different come this weekend. We’re excited to be starting our campaign at home and we’re hoping to have a big crowd at DHL Newlands.”
* The DHL Western Province Under-19 (12:45) and Under-21 (14:45) teams will both be playing in curtain-raisers against Border at DHL Newlands on Saturday, before the main game at 17:05.
Tickets can be purchased online, by clicking here, from Postnet Outlets or the Newlands Box Office.
Prices start at just R35 (for standing), with seating tickets priced from R65 to R95. Scholars tickets can be purchased directly from the WP Rugby offices.
The DHL Western Province team to take on the Blue Bulls is as follows:
15. Gio Aplon
14. Gerhard van den Heever
13. Pat Howard
12. Damian de Allende
11. Cheslin Kolbe
10. Gary van Aswegen
9. Louis Schreuder (vice-captain)
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Deon Fourie (captain)
5. De Kock Steenkamp
4. Gerbrandt Grobler
3. Brok Harris
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Alistair Vermaak
17. Pat Cilliers
18. Michael Rhodes
19. Ruan Kitshoff
20. Nic Groom
21. Kurt Coleman
22. Berton Klaasen
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge