Youthful WP to take on Blue Bulls

Date published: August 4 2016

Western Province coach John Dobson has picked a youthful team for their opening Currie Cup against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.

Wings Leolin Zas and Khanyo Ngcukana, centre Daniel du Plessis, loose forward Jacques Vermeulen, lock JD Schickerling and
utility replacement back Brandon Thomson, are all still eligible for Western Province U21, but will do duty for the senior team.

Zas and Ngcukana will form a back three with full-back Scott van Breda, whilst Du Plessis partners Huw Jones in midfield.
Fly-half Robert du Preez and experienced vice-captain Jano Vermaak will form the halfback pairing.

Vermeulen starts at number eight to form an imposing loose trio with flanks Jurie van Vuuren and Rynhardt Elstadt. Schickerling is in the second row alongside captain Chris Van Zyl, and tighthead prop Wilco Louw links up with Scarra Ntubeni and Alistair Vermaak in the front row.

Thomson is amongst the backline replacements, along with scrum-half Godlen Masimla and utility back Johnny Kotze.

Hooker Chad Solomon and props Oli Kebble and JP Smith form the front row cover on the replacements bench alongside loose forward Kobus van Dyk.

Dobson said that his team has embraced the challenge of travelling to Loftus Versfeld to take on the Blue Bulls ahead of their bye next week.

"This team certainly does not lack talent or enthusiasm, and although we have not had a lot of time together as a group, we are excited about taking on this challenge," he said.

Dobson added that he expects the senior players in the team to play a big role in what will be a testing start to their campaign.

"It is a relatively young side, but we have got experienced players in key positions and they will hopefully provide some guidance for the considerable young talent we will have out there," he said.

Western Province: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 JP Smith, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Brandon Thomson,
22 Johnny Kotze.

Date: Friday, August 5
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17:10 local (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Vusi Msibi, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Johan Greeff