DHL Western Province U21 team to take on the FS Cheetahs

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Photo by Morgan Piek /Rugby15

John Dobson, the DHL Western Province Under-21 coach, has announced his team to take on the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Florida Park on Saturday (kick-off 14h00).

Dobson has made three changes to the starting XV, from the side that went down to the Sharks last Friday evening, with a further three additions to the bench.

Right-wing Cheslin Kolbe will make his WP Under-21 debut, after impressing for the WP U19s this season at fullback, SA U20 star Kobus van Wyk returns at inside centre, after recovering from injury, and flanker Jose Julies comes in for his first start of the year in the No.7 jersey.

Julies replaces JP Swanepoel, with the latter dropping to the bench where he will be joined by the fit-again trio of James Kilroe, Jody Reyneke and Clearance Khumalo.

“Jose is a former SA Under-20 and Bulls Under-21 player who is back to full fitness and, after some good performances for his club, Primrose, we’re excited to have him in the mix.

“Like Josh Katzen, it’s heartening that we can pick guys out of the club teams and we’re looking forward to seeing how the two of them go in tandem at loose forward.”

The return of Van Wyk, from injury, and Kolbe’s call-up from the Under-19s, were necessitated by injury with Dobson revealing: “We lost two backs, Craig Barry (knee) and Nick Holton (hamstring) last weekend – both of whom are out for the rest of the season.

“It’s always sad to lose guys – especially in a tight team like ours – but, that said, we’re excited about having Cheslin in the mix. We know he’s a fullback, first and foremost, but we also know that he has the ability to play across the back three and, importantly, produce some magic.”

On the bench, meanwhile, Dobson was particularly excited about the return to fitness of forwards Kilroe and Reyneke (after his season had looked like being over a few months ago) and winger Khumalo as he attempts to finalise his best squad of 22 ahead of the semifinals in two weeks’ time.

“We’re pretty much there (in terms of qualifying for the semifinals), it’s just a case of where we play our semifinal – in Pretoria or Durban. A freakish result or two could perhaps see us sneak a late home semifinal but we’re confident of doing the job away from home… if it stays dry!

“The next two weeks will be very important for us to finalise our best combinations and you don’t get a better test than against the Cheetahs – a side that never stops playing,” said Dobson.

“Yes, last week was disappointing for us. I thought our first half was excellent but then the Sharks got the better of us in the second half by adapting better to the conditions. Nobody ever likes to lose but we won’t let one poor performance derail our campaign.”

The DHL Western Province Under-21 team to take on the FS Cheetahs is as follows:

15. Dillyn Leyds

14. Cheslin Kolbe

13. Kyle Lombard

12. Kobus van Wyk

11. Dean Hammond

10. Tim Swiel

9. Rick Schroeder (captain)

8. Rayn Smid

7. Jose Julies

6. Josh Katzen

5. Gerbrandt Grobler

4. Jean Kleyn

3. Oliver Kebble

2. Neil Rautenbach

1. Francois van Wyk (vice-captain)


16. Stephan Coetzee

17. Kelvin de Bruyn

18. James Kilroe

19. Jody Reyneke

20. JP Swanepoel

21. Godlen Masimla

22. Clearance Khumalo

Referee: Ben Crouse

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