Young Ikey Tigers lock Martin Muller has been named on the Western Province bench for this weekend’s Currie Cup clash against Griquas at Newlands.
Muller, a key member of UCT’s Varsity Cup squad these past two seasons, played for the Stormers in the Super 14 earlier this year and also for WP against the touring British & Irish Lions.
Since then the likeable former Bishops pupil has found himself in the Western Province Under-21 team, with Stellenbosch’s De Kock Steenkamp replacing Kiwi Chris Jack – who went back to New Zealand – in the WP engine room.
Now, however, Muller has another chance to stake a claim ahead of the 2009 Currie Cup play-offs and, indeed, the 2010 Super 14 – especially with Springbok ace Andries Bekker due to make his return from injury next week.
2008 Varsity Cup winners, Joe Pietersen and Juan de Jongh (both of the Maties), will once again line up at fullback and centre, respectively, but JJ Engelbrecht (from Maties’ Class of 2009) is out with an ankle injury.
Fijian powerhouse Sireli Naqelevuki has replaced Engelbrecht on the replacements’ bench, whilst another Varsity Cup-winning Matie, Paul Bosch, has made way for new Aussie recruit Matt Toomua on the bench.
The Western Province team: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Frikkie Welsh, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Luke Watson (captain), 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Sireli Naqelevuki.
Kick-off: 3pm – Saturday, September 25
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town