Flank Luke Stringer will captain DHL Western Province U21 in their first match of the season against Vodacom Blue Bulls U21 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Stringer is one of 11 players in the starting line-up that did duty for DHL Western Province in the Currie Cup Qualifiers this season, whilst there are also six players that featured for the defending champions in last year’s final victory against Free State U21.
Although there are six players eligible for DHL Western Province U21 who will feature for DL Western Province in the Currie Cup Premier Division match, coach Jerome Paarwater has selected a strong side to start their national title defence.
In the backline, Grant Hermanus is at fullback with Duncan Saal and Sibahle Maxwane on the wings. The versatile EW Viljoen starts at outside centre in a midfield combination with Ryan Oosthuizen, and Dennis Cox and Justin Phillips form an exciting halfback pairing.
In the forward pack, captain Stringer is joined in the loose trio by Jaco Coetzee and former SA Schools captain Rikus Bothma. Eduard Zandberg starts at lock alongside David Ribbans, whilst in the front row props Frans van Wyk and Kyle Whyte start on either side of hooker Percy Mngadi.
Paarwater said that although they have not had much time together as a group, the players are excited to get their campaign underway against the Vodacom Blue Bulls U21.
“We are determined to make a strong start this season despite the challenges we have had, and we know that we will have to be at our best if we are going to start our title defence with a win at Loftus Versfeld.
“The Blue Bulls are always a tough test away from home, but we are focused on our performance and making the most of the talent we have,” he said.
DHL Western Province U21: 15 Grant Hermanus, 14 Duncan Saal, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Ryan Oosthuizen, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Dennis Cox, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Luke Stringer (captain), 6 Rikus Bothma, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Eduard Zandberg, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Percy Mngadi, 1 Kyle Whyte.
Replacements: 16 Hanno Snyman, 17 Michael Kumbarai, 18 Gary Porter, 19 Saud Abrahams, 20 Herschel Jantjies, 21 Justin Heunis, 22 Tiaan Swanepoel.