Preview: Western Province v Cheetahs

Date published: August 17 2016

Western Province will be desperate to get their first win of the Currie Cup competition when they take on the Cheetahs at Newlands on Friday.

WP had a bye last week and used that time to hold a training camp in Hermanus. They lost their opening game of the campaign heavily to the Blue Bulls at Loftus, going down 45-26.

They will have to hit the ground running against the Cheetahs who have won their first two games, even if WP will encounter a different team than the one who played in the previous two weeks.

“The players have worked hard this week, and we know that we are in for a serious test against a Toyota Free State Cheetahs side that has won both of their games this season convincingly," said WP coach John Dobson.

“We will have to raise our standards, but we are confident that we can get the result we are looking for at DHL Newlands if we execute our plans."

The last time these teams met: WP won a tight contest 36-31 in Bloemfontein.

Team news: There are two new faces amongst the WP outside-backs with Jaco Taute coming in at full-back and Kobus van Wyk replacing the injured Khanyo Ngcukana on the right wing, whilst Olympic Bronze medallist Cheslin Kolbe has returned from Rio and will provide cover on the replacements bench. In midfield, Huw Jones shifts to inside centre in place of Dan du Plessis who is out with a shoulder injury, with Johnny Kotze coming into the starting line-up at outside centre. Fly-half Brandon Thomson will make his first Currie Cup start for Western Province to form a halfback partnership with Jano Vermaak, with Robert du Preez and Godlen Masimla on the replacements bench. In the pack, Sikhumbuzo Notshe returns from the Springbok squad to take his place at number eight in a loose forward combination with Kobus van Dyk and Rynhardt Elstadt. Jan de Klerk comes in at lock, for JD Schickerling who is battling illness, to pair up with captain Chris van Zyl in the second row, whilst the only front row change comes on the replacements bench with JC Janse van Rensburg coming in for Oli Kebble who is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

The Cheetahs coaching staff announced that they are making a full rotation in the front-row with Charles Marias, Jacques du Toit and Johan Coetzee switching places with Ox Nche, Torsten van Jaarsveld and Tom Botha in the starting line-up. The only other change is Nico Lee replacing the injured Francois Venter at outside centre with Tian Meyer taking over the skipper role.

Prediction: Tough to call, but the Cheetahs will fancy their chances in what should be a high scoring affair at Newlands. Cheetahs by 10.

Western Province: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak 
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Cheslin Kolbe.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Nico Lee, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Charles Marais
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy.

Date: Friday, August 19
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:10 local (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Paul Mente
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salman