De Villiers leads Bok-laden XV
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has brought back all his Springboks for Saturday's must-win Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs at Newlands.
Coetzee has made eight changes to his starting line-up from last weekend's clash in Pretoria with the introduction of seven Springboks - including national skipper Jean de Villiers who takes over the captaincy from flanker Deon Fourie.
De Villiers will be joined in the starting line-up by fellow Boks - centre Juan de Jongh, winger Bryan Habana, number eight Duane Vermeulen, locks Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker and hooker Tiaan Liebenberg.
Of the eight changes to the WP starting XV, one is positional with Don Armand shifting from lock to the back-row (where he replaces the injured Tyrone Holmes at number seven), meaning there are five changes up front and three changes amongst the backs to the side that went down 13-26 to the Blue Bulls.
The only player without Super Rugby experience in the WP line-up is fly-half Demetri Catrakilis, whilst, remarkably, after 13 Super Rugby matches and eight Tests for the Springboks, lock Eben Etzebeth will make his Currie Cup debut for Western Province.
"You've got to select your best possible side for the weekend," said Coetzee.
"It's completely different from last year, the mindset... everything. This is a crunch game for us (this weekend), last year we had to play the Pumas and we had already qualified for the semi-finals. We have selected our best possible team to ensure we qualify for the semi-finals."
Meanwhile, wing/fullback Gio Aplon - another Springbok - rejoins the matchday 22 on the bench after recovering sufficiently from the ankle injury suffered against Griquas three weeks ago.
Aplon will be joined amongst the replacements by regular starters - and performers - up till now; Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, De Kock Steenkamp, Jebb Sinclair, Louis Schreuder and Marcel Brache - giving WP massive strike-power from the bench.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Gio Aplon.
Date: Saturday, October 13
Kick-off: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan