Captain Katzen returns for DHL WP Under-21s
Regular captain Josh Katzen will lead the DHL Western Province Under-21 team into battle against the Sharks Under-21s at DHL Newlands on Saturday (16h45).
Katzen returns from injury and replaces Eital Bredenkamp in the No.6 jersey, whilst No.8 Rayn Smid is also back from a one-week injury lay-off, giving coach John Dobson his first-choice loose trio for this top-of-the-log clash.
Smid takes over at No.8 from Carel du Preez at the back of the scrum, the latter finding himself in London with the DHL Western Province Sevens team. Winger JP Lewis is also in London for the inaugural World Club 7s, with Craig Barry taking his place in the No.14 jersey.
In other changes to the WP Under-21 team, meanwhile, Entienne Swanepoel replaces the injured Justin Ackerman (ribs) at tighthead prop, whilst SA Under-20 hooker Michael Willemse has recovered from an ankle injury to take his place on the bench.
“As well as Eital Bredenkamp and Justin Benn did last week, it’s great to have our captain, Josh Katzen, back and the return of Rayn Smid gives us a big, ball-carrying option from No.8 (with Carel du Preez in London with the WP Sevens team),” coach Dobson told http://www.wprugby.com.
“It’s all to play for this week,” added Dobson, “it’s a top-of-the-log game, so we’re fortunate to have all hands on deck (just about). Losing Justin Ackerman is a blow in terms of continuity, but Entienne Swanepoel is raring to go and we look forward to seeing him in action.”
Dobson has, once again, opted for a five/two split on the bench (in terms of forwards and backs), and he was excited about Willemse’s return from injury.
“Mike played in the Vodacom Cup for us, but has been out of action since the Under-20 World Cup,” explained Dobson.
“It’s crazy to think that someone who has played Vodacom Cup rugby is yet to make his WP Under-20 debut, but we need guys to stay on their toes when it comes to selection in the starting XV and that’s why it’s great to have Mike back in the mix.”
There has been plenty of rain in the Cape this week, but when asked about the weather Dobson replied: “It seems we could have a break from the rain on Saturday, but, either way, we’ve certainly prepared for rain by training in it (for) most of the week.
“We’re expecting a helluva battle up front, they have an all-Vodacom Cup front row; so the conditions could be crucial in the final outcome.”
Saturday’s match, the second of two curtain-raisers to the Western Province v Free State Cheetahs Absa Currie Cup match (19h15) at DHL Newlands, will get underway at 16h45.
The DHL Western Province Under-21 team:
15. Dillyn Leyds, 14. Craig Barry, 13. Kobus van Wyk, 12. Kyle Lombard, 11. Devon Williams, 10. Tim Swiel, 9. Godlen Masimla, 8. Rayn Smid, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Josh Katzen (c), 5. Jean Kleyn, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Entienne Swanepoel, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Oliver Kebble
16. Michael Willemse, 17. Sti Sithole, 18. Justin Benn, 19. Cobus Nel, 20. Eital Bredenkamp, 21. Jean Nel, 22. John-Ben Kotze
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
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