Cape Town - While Nama Xaba will captain Western Province in their Currie Cup opener against the Lions, coach Jerome Paarwater has made a number of interesting selections for Saturday’s clash at Cape Town Stadium (5pm kickoff).
Openside flank Xaba was in impressive form for WP and the Stormers last year, and was rewarded with a leadership role when Paarwater announced his team on Thursday.
Hard-running No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani is also back in the mix after an injury layoff, and he will provide great impetus with ball-in-hand for the Province pack.
Hooker Chad Solomon and lock Adre Smith will look to guide a young, inexperienced pack through the set-pieces, where the Lions will try to put them under pressure.
If the forwards can secure enough ball, there is an exciting backline waiting to pounce. Paarwater has shifted wing Leolin Zas to outside centre, while Blitzboks speedster Angelo Davids is back at No 14.
There is a new name at left wing, Paschal Ekeji, who is a former Grey College schoolboy star who played junior rugby for the Cheetahs as well.
Here is your DHL WP team that will face the Sigma Lions in their Carling Currie Cup opener at DHL Stadium on Saturday. #wpkoulekkerding #dhldelivers— WP RUGBY (@WP_RUGBY) January 13, 2022
🔵⚪️ v 🦁
🏟️ DHL Stadium
📆 Saturday, January 15
🎟️ @TicketProSA pic.twitter.com/EGv7p65xGi
Experienced pivot Tim Swiel will marshal the backline, and his goal-kicking boot will be vital to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
There are some solid options on the bench too, with veteran flank Deon Fourie and scrumhalf Godlen Masimla sure to make an impact in the second half.
“We have had good preparations leading up to this game, working closely with the Stormers squad, so we are looking forward to the challenge and to playing in front of a crowd again,” Paarwater said.
“We have a nice balance of youth and experience in the team, with four players in the starting team making their debut and a few more on the bench, so it will be good to see what these combinations can do.”
Western Province Team: 15 Tristan Leyds 14 Angelo Davids 13 Leolin Zas 12 Cornel Smit 11 Paschal Ekeji 10 Tim Swiel 9 Thomas Bursey 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Simon Miller 6 Nama Xaba (captain) 5 Adre Smith 4 Connor Evans 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko 2 Chad Solomon 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Bench: 16 Jacques van Zyl 17 Leon Lyons 18 Sazi Sandi 19 Keke Morabe 20 Deon Fourie 21 Godlen Masimla 22 Chris Schreuder 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba.