Western Province will rely heavily on their youngsters when they take on the Pumas in Witbank on Friday.
The side boasts a number of first timers for WP in the Currie Cup. Chumani Booi, Naas Olivier, Robbie Diack, Francois van der Merwe, Attie Winter and Schalk Brits will all making their Currie Cup debut for Province. Reserves Schalk Ferreira and Riaan Vermeulen will also play their first match should they come off the bench.
“A lot has been said about consistency and the forging of partnerships, but I believe that the youngsters deserve a chance as well,” Luke Watson, who will be debuting as captain, told keo.co.za
“For me, I see these exciting youngsters and how passionate they are. They have something to prove, and a man who has something to prove and who is desperate to succeed is very dangerous indeed.”
Despite their inexperience, WP are confident they can get off to a winning start.
“It’s non-negotiable,” explained Watson. “We are not looking at just winning this game, we want to dominate them completely.”
There should be less risk involved in the new gameplan, which aims to bring some balance and stability to a side that is often criticised for being too predictable.
“We are going to play a more varied and conservative game on Friday. We want to get ourselves into a position early on where we can control the momentum of the game.”
The big surprise is the omission of Egon Seconds and Zhahier Ryland, who have both shown their try scoring prowess in the past. The other interesting move is the playing of Peter Grant at centre, with Naas Olivier at first receiver.
WP team to play Pumas:
15. Gio Aplon 14. Chumani Booi 13. Corne Uys 12. Peter Grant 11. Joe Pietersen 10. Naas Olivier 9. Bolla Conradie 8. Robbie Diack 7 Gerrie Britz 6. Luke Watson (c) 5. Andries Bekker 4. Francois Van Der Merwe 3. Attie Winter 2. Schalk Brits 1. JD Moller
Subs: 16. Huia Edmonds 17. Schalk Ferreira 18. Riaan Vermeulen 19. Justin Melck 20. Neil De Kock 21. Sarel Potgieter 22. Gus Theron
By Jon Cardinelli