The SA Universities team has been forced into some late changes – one in the starting XV and a further two on the bench – ahead of Wednesday evening’s match against the Collegiate All-Americans in Stellenbosch (kick-off 9pm).
Maties centre Paul Bosch has been asked to travel with the Western Province Currie Cup team to Kimberley – as an additional squad member – and his place at inside centre will be taken by UCT’s Matthew Rosslee.
Rosslee, normally a flyhalf, will team up at centre with his Ikey Tigers teammate, Therlow Pietersen, who played primarily at fullback during the Varsity Cup.
Maties winger Morné Jooste will step up onto the bench as Rosslee’s replacement, whilst another Ikey, centre Tim Whitehead, has also been brought into the matchday 22 as a replacement for Pukke prop Jaco Koch, who has a slight injury niggle.
With Whitehead on the replacements’ bench, the SA Universities will revert to a more regular 4-3 split (in terms of forwards and backs) on their bench.
The SA Universities squad – under the tutelage of head coach Chean Roux – has been hard at work since assembling on Sunday and the players were capped by SA Rugby CEO Johan Prinsloo at a function on Tuesday evening.
Fort Hare flanker Sokana Mokana – who is in his third year of playing for the SA Universities team, and will be starting at No.7 on Wednesday – said: “It’s just a massive honour to be a part of this squad again.
“Every year it seems to get better and I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s match. I’ve never played at Newlands before, so it would be a fantastic experience if that were to happen for me.”
Joining Mokana, or ‘Socks’ as he is known to his teammates, in the SA Universities side is highly-rated UJ hooker Edgar Maruthule. He will start Wednesday evening’s match on the bench and – like ‘Socks’ – he is also in his third year of being part of this side.
“It’s a step closer to playing in the Green and Gold of the Springboks,” Maruthule told varsitycup.co.za. “Every time I am involved in the SA Universities team it leads to forging new friendships and some fantastic new experiences as a rugby player.
“The coach believes in our skills and talent and he simply wants us to go out there and do the best that we can. We’re all hoping to make an impact on Wednesday and, of course, remain in the selection frame come Saturday’s game at Newlands.”
The SA Universities team (revised):
15 Earl Lewis (UJ)
14 Clayton Blommetjies (Tuks)
13 Therlow Pietersen (UCT)
12 Matthew Rosslee (UCT)
11 Ziniko Dumaphi (Fort Hare)
10 André Smith (UJ)
9 Donald Stevens (Maties)
8 Willem van der Wal (Pukke, captain)
7 Sokana Mokana (Fort Hare)
6 Wesley Wilkins (Maties)
5 Martin Muller (UCT)
4 Jaco Nepgen (Maties)
3 Pierre Hammond (NMMU)
2 Stoffel Duvenhage (Pukke)
1 BG Uys (Pukke)
16 Edgar Maruthule (UJ)
17 Lourens Adriaanse (Maties)
18 Rob Andrew (UJ)
19 Jonathan Adendorf (Maties)
20 Marlin Ruiters (Shimlas)
21 Tim Whitehead (UCT)
22 Morné Jooste (Maties)
Head coach: Chean Roux (Maties)
Assistant coaches: Freddie Grobler (Tuks) and Xolofile Dakushe (Fort Hare)