No JdV for WP
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his side for Saturday's Currie Cup semi-final with the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.
The big news is that captain and inside centre Jean de Villiers has been sidelined for the remainder of the Currie Cup with a grade one hamstring strain, but he is not considered doubtful for the Springboks' year-end tour of Ireland, Scotland and England next month.
His place in the run-on side to face the Lions will be taken by Marcel Brache.
The WP and Bok skipper was sent for a scan on Wednesday and after consultation with the WP team doctor, Arthur Williams, and further advice from a specialist, De Villiers faces a three-week lay-off.
The other changes sees Gio Aplon taking over at full-back from Joe Pietersen while lock De Kock Steenkamp and hooker Scarra Ntubeni come in for injured Springbok duo Andries Bekker (toe), Tiaan Liebenberg (back) who were sidelined earlier this week.
Coetzee said he decided to leave De Villiers out as a precautionary measure after the Springbok skipper sustained the injury during a training session.
"Jean felt pain while accelerating and I don't want to risk him," he said.
While De Villiers' injury is a major blow for Province, Coetzee is confident that Brache will do well as his replacement.
"Marcel has come a long way with the team and grown a lot this season," the coach said.
"He is not a stranger to the set-up and has done well for us when he has started in previous games."
Deon Fourie, who takes over the captaincy, said although losing De Villiers was a setback he was confident of attaining success on Saturday.
"Jean offers stability, leadership and experience to any side he plays in but we still have other experienced Boks in our side which we can count on," he said.
"All the guys who are coming into the side for those experienced players have stood in for them before and most of them have experienced similar situations in the past."
Coetzee also confirmed that Liebenberg and Bekker will not return to action during 2012.
"Both Tiaan and Andries are out for the rest of the season," he revealed.
"Tiaan is out for eight weeks with a vertebrae injury while Andries has a toe injury.
"Both injuries were picked up against the Cheetahs."
When asked about facing a player like Elton Jantjies - whose excellent goal-kicking has helped the defending champions reach the semi-final - Coetzee said WP would not focus on any individuals.
"We work hard within our own system," he said.
"Our aim is to do well defensively and with ball in hand. If you focus on one quality player in a team you forget that there are other players amongst the opposition who are also good and that could be dangerous."
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Damian de Allende, 22 Joe Pietersen.
Date: Saturday, October 20
Kick-off: 19:00 (17:00 GMT)
Venue: Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Stefan Breytenbach
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen
Assessor: Pierre Oelofse