Junior Springbok wing Edwill van der Merwe will make his debut for DHL Western Province U21 against the Cell C Sharks U21 at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
The speedster will be joined in a new-look backline by flyhalf Brandon Thomson, scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and a new midfield combination of Ryan Oosthuizen and Eduaan Keyter.
Thomson started last year’s final, when DHL Western Province U21 won the national title, and comes down from the senior DHL Western Province team, whilst Jantjies takes the place of the injured Justin Phillips with Paul de Wet set to provide scrumhalf cover.In midfield Oosthuizen returns from injury at inside centre and Keyter takes the place of EW Viljoen, who has been called up to the senior DHL Western Province Currie Cup team.
The only two changes to the forward pack see hooker Percy Mngadi return from injury and Eduard Zandberg start at lock.
DHL Western Province U21 coach, Jerome Paarwater, said that after last week’s narrow defeat, his team is determined to bounce back.
“It is great to have quality players like Edwill van der Merwe and Brandon Thomson to call on, as well as being able to welcome back injured players such as Ryan Oosthuizen and Percy Mngadi.
“It was especially disappointing to lose last week after scoring four tries, so the players are determined to rise to the challenge against what will be a competitive Cell C Sharks U21 outfit,” he said.
DHL Western Province U21: 15 Grant Hermanus, 14 Sibahle Maxwane, 13 Eduaan Keyter, 12 Ryan Oosthuizen, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer (captain), 5 David Ribbans, 4 Eduard Zandberg, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Percy Mngadi, 1 Kyle Whyte.
Replacements: 16 Hanno Snyman, 17 Michael Kumbirai, 18 Ruben Terblanche, 19 Jaco Willemse, 20 Christo van der Merwe, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Aidynn Cupido.