When defending Currie Cup champions WP run out onto the sold out Newlands on Saturday to take on the Sharks, there will be plenty of familiar UCT faces in the mix.
Center Damian de Allende has staked a big claim this season starting next to Springbok Captain (and former Matie) Jean de Villiers. Demetri Catrakilis is looking to repeat his heroics from last year at Kings Park, a strong game combined with impeccable kicking – attributes that had him claim a Man of the Match performance in the 2011 Varsity Cup final when UCT beat Tuks.
Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Scarra Ntubeni are the Ikeys in the pack. Etzebeth was a UCT powerhouse in mentioned 2011 season and modestly asked one of the coaches "Do you think I will get a look in at WP?" he has since turned into one of the best locks on world rugby. Scarra and Siya are both registered players and very close to Ikeys rugby, but are as yet to be capped for the blue and white of UCT.
On the bench scrumhalf and soon to be UCT graduate Nic Groom is looking to make an impact.
In the U21 final WP and former Ikeys coach John Dobson has called on a number of Ikeys to take on the Golden Lions. He said: “Hopefully some of the DHL Newlands Faithful will get there a bit earlier to watch what has been a good Under-21 team that has represented the union with pride in action one last time this year."
The UCt players in the mix are 15 Dillyn Leyds, an all Ikeys backrow with 8. Rayn Smid, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, captain and number 6 Josh Katzen. In the front row 1. Ollie Kebble is back, with SA U21 hooker Michael Willemse coming off the bench.
Look out for the guys. Good luck to the WP side! Bring the Cup home!
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Juan de Jongh.