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Dillyn Leyds will start at flyhalf and take over the captaincy for DHL Western Province in their pre-season encounter with Montpellier in Millau on Thursday.

Leyds will direct the team in the No.10 jersey, as stand-in captain for regular skipper Chris van Zyl who is unavailable due to injury, in the final warm-up match ahead of DHL Western Province’s Currie Cup title defence, which kicks off against Toyota Free State Cheetahs at DHL Newlands on August 25.

They will be up against a formidable Montpellier squad, which featured the likes of Springboks Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Frans Steyn, Ruan Pienaar and Johan Goosen, as well as French international Alexandre Dumoulin in their last warm-up game.

Last season’s Top 14 runners-up should provide a serious test for DHL Western Province in the pre-season friendly at the Parc des Sports de Millau, with kicks-off at 19h00 on Thursday.

Leyds is partnered at halfback by experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, with Dan Kriel and JJ Engelbrecht in midfield.

SP Marais moves to fullback, with Sergeal Petersen and Craig Barry outside him on the wings, while there are five backs on the extended bench, with Herschel Jantjies, Josh Stander, Paul de Wet, Dan du Plessis and Duncan Saal all set to make an impact in the second half.

Up front Ramone Samuels is at hooker, with props Michael Kumbirai and Ali Vermaak either side of him.

In the second row Salmaan Moerat links up with JD Schickerling, while in the loose trio Chris Massyn and Kobus van Dyk are the flanks, with Juarno Augustus at No.8.

There are six forwards on the extended replacements bench, with Caylib Oosthuizen, Scarra Ntubeni, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Chad Solomon and Johan du Toit all in line to show their worth.

DHL Western Province Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is expecting a tough examination from a quality Montpellier side.

“We are facing a top side which is full of quality players and also finishing up their pre-season preparations, so we are prepared for a major test.

“It has been a great build-up here in Millau, where we have been treated exceptionally well, so we are looking forward to the challenge that we will face on Thursday,” he said.

DHL Western Province: 15 SP Marais, 14 Craig Barry, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Dillyn Leyds (captain), 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Chad Solomon, 21 Johan du Toit, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Josh Stander, 24 Paul de Wet, 25 Dan du Plessis, 26 Duncan Saal.

Montpellier squad: Bismarck du Plessis, Romain Ruffenach, Levan Chilachava, Jannie du Plessis, Grégory Fichten, Antoine Guillamon, Mohamed Haouas, Mikheil Nariashvili, Yvan Watremez, Jacques du Plessis, Nico Janse van Rensburg, Julien Le Devedec, Konstantin Mikautadze, Paul Willemse, Julien Bardy, Yacouba Camara, Martin Devergie, Kélian Galletier, Kévin Kornath, Wiaan Liebenberg, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Valentin Paget, Louis Picamoles, Benoît Paillaugue, Ruan Pienaar, Enzo Sanga, Julien Tomas, Aaron Cruden, Thomas Darmon, Alexandre Dumoulin, Guillaume Galletier, Joris Jurand, Vincent Martin, Yvan Reilhac, Jan Serfontein, Frans Steyn, Nemani Nadolo, Timoci Nagusa, Gabriel N’Gandebe, Benjamin Fall, Johan Goosen, Henry Immelman.

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