Nic Groom Leads Province In Durban

Scrumhalf Nic Groom will captain Western Province in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup clash against the Sharks in Durban (kick-off 17:05).  Groom takes over from injured eighthman Nizaam Carr (hamstring), with Sikhumbuzo Notshe returning from injury to start at eighthman in one of three changes to the starting line-up from last weekend’s confidence-boosting 33-15 win over Griquas.  The other changes to the WP starting XV see Dillyn Leyds start on the right-wing, while exciting talent Huw Jones will make his first start in the competition in place of Jaco Taute at inside centre.

Kobus Van Wyk drops down to the bench – in a swap with Leyds – with the fit-again pairing of prop Oli Kebble and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak joining the bench this week in place of JP Smith and Godlen Masimla, respectively.  Western Province head coach John Dobson says:  ‘Nizaam’s hamstring has recovered a lot better than we had initially anticipated, but we didn’t want to risk further injury with Nizaam – especially as Juan De Jongh is already out (injured).  Jaco’s groin is a bit tight, so perhaps he could’ve played at a push, but Huw’s selection is an exciting one.  I’ve always rated him as an attacking prospect and we feel the time is right to give him a go at inside centre.  Our 10-12-13 axis is looking very different now from how we started the season, which is a challenge in itself, but I have every confidence in Kurt (Coleman), Huw and Johnny (Kotze) to make things happen for us in Durban.’

Province, the defending Currie Cup champions, are in third place on the log after five weeks of action, with the Sharks just two points behind them in fourth position.  Dobson says:  ‘The Sharks are a tough nut to crack in Durban, as they showed last week against the Pumas when they gutsed out a tough win – despite having to chase it a bit at one stage.  I said it earlier in the week, they have a big kicking game so we need to be accurate in dealing with their kicks and ensure we don’t allow them to dictate things.  The next two weeks are big for us in terms of our semifinal aspirations, but we cannot afford to look past this week and the challenge of facing the Sharks in their own backyard – which is always a huge challenge for DHL Western Province.’

Western Province match day squad:

15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Dillyn Leyds
13. Johnny Kotze
12. Huw Jones (Currie Cup starting debut for WP) 
11. Seabelo Senatla 
10. Kurt Coleman 
9. Nic Groom (captain)
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
6. Chris Cloete
5. Ruan Botha 
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Wilco Louw
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Oli Kebble
18. Chris Van Zyl
19. Jurie van Vuuren
20. Jano Vermaak
21. Robert Du Preez
22. Kobus Van Wyk