Willemse’s wait finally over

Ashwin Willemse returns to competitive rugby on Thursday when the Cats take on the Pumas in a Super 14 crank-up.

Willemse starts from the bench as coach Frans Ludeke wisely nurtures SA’s Player of the Year from 2003 to full fitness.

Whilst Witbank may not be the most glamorous venue for his comeback, the low key nature of the fixture is perfect as the emphasis will be on regaining confidence and the pressure to perform less than if the opponents were another high profile region.

Ludeke has named a strong side for the encounter, with the all-Bok midfield of Wayne Julies and Jaque Fourie sure to cause havoc.

Earl Rose gets another run at 10, partnered by Ricky Januarie at halfback,

Willemse is one of five Boks on the bench, alongside Lawrence Sephaka, Jannes Labuschagne, Grant Esterhuizen and emergency import Delarey du Preez.

CATS TEAM TO PLAY PUMAS

15. Oginga Siwundla
14. Wylie Human
13. Jaque Fourie
12. Wayne Julies
11. Jorrie Muller
10. Earl Rose
9. Ricky Januarie
8. Russell Winter
7. Wikus van Heerden (c)
6. Cobus Grobbelaar
5. Willem Stoltz
4. Trevor Hall
3. Daniel Muller
2. Lukas van Biljon
1. Pietman van Niekerk

Subs

16. Delarey du Preez
17. Lawrence Sephaka
18. Bertus Smit
19. KleinJan Tromp
20. Jannes Labuschagne
21. Gerhard Vosloo
22. Jano Vermaak
23. Andre Hough
24. Grant Esterhuizen
25. Doppies la Grange
26. Ashwin Willemse