Pietersen’s boot preferred

Vodacom Western Province have made two changes to the side that went down narrowly to the Sharks last Saturday.

Joe Pietersen comes back into the team for Chumani Booi, while 21-year-old Brock Harris makes his first start in the place of injured tighthead Attie Winter. The former Leopards prop will face an enormous challenge when he packs down against the vastly experienced Wessel Roux at Loftus Versfeld.

Pietersen’s inclusion may have something to do with Province’s intention to play more of a kicking game against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The blond three-quarter played several matches for the Stormers at fullback during the Vodacom Super 14, and has shown that he is more than useful with the boot.

“The Bulls will probably look to put pressure on our back-three by kicking up a few high ones, and I think that we will look to do something similar,” Pietersen told Keo.co.za. “At altitude that’s usually how it goes; kicking is an important factor. Whoever wins this duel may win the match.”

His selection on the wing also completes a dangerous triumvirate at the back. Along with Egon Seconds and Gio Aplon, the Bulls should have their hands full on defence.

“It’s nice to be back and a part of an exciting combination. We all enjoy running from broken play and have been given a licence to throw the ball around if we see that there is something on,” he said.

“There will be nothing complacent about how we play this match, we are going to throw everything we have at them.”

Paul Delport also comes into the team on the bench for the injured Neil de Kock, who’s concussion has ruled him out for at least three more weeks. Sparingly used at the tournament in France, South Africa U21 loose-forward Pieter Louw will be itching for game time, and should come on in the second half.

“I don’t think that the Bulls realise the confidence we’ve gained from the Sharks game. Our forwards drove the Sharks pack backward several times last week, so I don’t think we will be outmatched in that area.”

WP: 15- Gio Aplon; 14- Joe Pietersen, 13- Corné Uys, 12- Peter Grant, 11- Egon Seconds; 10- Naas Olivier, 9- Bolla Conradie; 8- Robbie Diack, 7- Justin Melck, 6- Luke Watson (c), 5- Gerrie Britz, 4- Francois van der Merwe, 3- Brock Harris, 2- Schalk Brits, 1- JD Moller. Replacements: 16- Huia Edmonds, 17- Schalk Ferreira, 18- Rob Linde, 19- Pieter Louw, 20- Paul Delport, 21- Sarel Potgieter, 22- Chumani Booi.

By Jon Cardinelli