In the backline there is a new halfback pairing of Godlen Masimla and Scott van Breda, whilst out wide Khanyo Ngcukana starts on the wing with JP Lewis named on the replacements bench.
In the forward pack hooker Chad Solomon and No.8 Tertius Daniller make their first starts of the season after featuring off the bench in the opening game of the campaign against the Blue Bulls at DHL Newlands.DHL Western Province Head Coach John Dobson said that despite the changes, he feels the team has settled quite wel in the time they have been together.
“I think we are fielding a talented exciting team. There have been a couple of enforced changes since we played the Vodacom Blue Bulls but despite those we are settling as a team – a team that I believe will get better the more they get to know each other,” he said.
With a win against the Vodacom Blue Bulls under their belt, the squad was able to focus on developing their game in the bye week that followed, which Dobson says was highly valuable.
“We have worked very hard over the past month and we showed the right character in the second half against the Vodacom Blue Bulls. The bye week allowed us to do more technical work so feel we are more prepared for this game than we were against the Bulls,” he said.
The DHL Western Province coach knows his team will have to be at their best to come away from Bloemfontein with a victory on Friday.
“We know how the Toyota Free State Cheetahs always play against a team from this province and their ‘never say die’ attitude. We will need a 80 minute performance if we are to triumph. This team appears to be enjoying its rugby and it always help when you enjoy what you do,” said Dobson.
DHL Western Province: 15 Grant Hermanus, 14 Khanyo Ngcukana, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Scott van Breda, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Tertius Daniller, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 JP Smith, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Eduard Zandbergh, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 JP Lewis, 22 EW Viljoen.