Schalk Burger will captain WP in their semi-final fixture against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Province skipper is one of four changes to the run-on side that faced the Pumas last weekend. Pieter Louw drops to the bench to make way for the Springbok flanker.
Lock De Kock Steenkamp takes the place of Hilton Lobberts, who drops out of the match 22 completely, while hooker Tiaan Liebenberg rotates with Deon Fourie. Outside centre Juan de Jongh also gives way for Jaque Fourie in the midfield.
‘This is one damn good team,’ WP head coach Allister Coetzee told keo.co.za. ‘I think our returning Springboks are definitely a big boost. That’s why I included them in my team last weekend, so they could ease back into our systems. It’s great to have your captain back in the starting line-up.’
There was talk of lock Rhynardt Elstadt returning for WP’s playoff games after recovering from a serious knee injury picked up during Super Rugby. However, Coetzee has revealed he’s not yet match fit.
‘Rhynardt has looked well since his return to training, but the medical team have advised me not to include him in our team. He experienced some discomfort during practice recently, so he won’t be involved at all.
‘Hilton Lobberts is fine after overcoming his shoulder injury but I’ve decided to keep Tertius Daniller on the bench as our back-up lock. His mobility gives him the edge over the locks in the WP squad. He’s also a great line-out option, shows a high level of work rate and has good distribution skills.’
WP – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JC Kritzinger.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Tertius Daniller, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Conrad Jantjes.
By Gareth Duncan