Province to lean on young guns
Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has named a host of Under-21 players in his squad for the forthcoming Currie Cup campaign.
Province start the defence of their Currie Cup title when they host the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee on Monday released a 26-man squad ahead of this weekend's opener.
WP U21 players Stephan Coetzee (hooker), Gerbrandt Grobler (lock), Tim Swiel (flyhalf), Pat Howard (centre) and Cheslin Kolbe (fullback) are all in the selection mix, along with the uncapped Maties duo of Alistair Vermaak (prop) and Ryan Nell (utility back).
Springboks Pat Cilliers (prop) and Gio Aplon (wing/fullback) are also in the frame to face the Bulls, with WP being captained by flank Deon Fourie.
Coetzee said the squad is not 'final' and players can still force their way in.
"The door is by no means closed on anyone else who has been training here these past few weeks, but I needed to focus on a core group of players with the eye on the first game," the coach said.
"We have Pat and Gio available to us this week, but are without the rest of our Springboks who have been selected in the Rugby Championship squad.
"I am happy with our preparations and we're looking forward to Saturday's match against the Bulls. North-South derbies are always big games and we're not expecting anything different come this weekend.
"We're excited to be starting our campaign at home and we're hoping to have a big crowd at DHL Newlands in our opening match of the 2013 Absa Currie Cup season."
The WP coach will announce his matchday 22, to face the Bulls, on Wednesday.
Western Province squad:
Forwards: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Stephan Coetzee, Steven Kitshoff, Alistair Vermaak, Pat Cilliers, Brok Harris, Gerbrandt Grobler, De Kock Steenkamp, Ruan Kitshoff, Deon Fourie (captain), Michael Rhodes, Rynhardt Elstadt, Nizaam Carr.
Backs: Louis Schreuder, Nic Groom, Gary van Aswegen, Tim Swiel, Kurt Coleman, Berton Klaasen, Damian de Allende, Pat Howard, Ryan Nell, Gerhard van den Heever, Ederies Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Gio Aplon.