The Eastern Province Kings will face the Blue Bulls without skipper Schalk Ferreira, after he was ruled out of selection following a groin strain sustained last week against Boland.
Head Coach Barend Pieterse announced that Ricky Schroeder has been appointed captain, with hooker Mike Willemse as vice captain.
Pieterse has made four changes to his starting line up, including two positional changes, with Siviwe Shakes Soyizwapi moving from fullback to right wing to replace Alcino Isaacs and Johan Tromp moving to fullback from outside centre.
Pieterse has also called up Burton Klaasen from the bench, to fill outside centre, while John Forwood also moves off the bench to replace Ferreira at prop.
Four new players join the bench, including Barend Potgieter, Ettienne Oosthuizen, Luke van der Smit and Minenhle Mthethwa.
Oosthuizen, who hails from UJ, and van der Smit, who has played for Western Province at U19, U21 and Currie Cup level, are both new additions to the squad, having only arrived this week.
Pieterse said he was expecting a tough game against the Bulls at Loftus.
“We can expect a very physical confrontation up front, with the backline looking at spreading the ball wide and gaining momentum,” he said.
Pieterse said the team had focused on what their strengths were and would continue working on them as the season progressed.
“We could spend the whole week just focusing on defense in preparation for the Bulls game, but it is important that we focus on improving on areas where we lacked in our previous game and growing from that,” he said.
Pieterse said the team had also spent some time on team building during the week.
“There is a great spirit among the players at the moment and it is important that we keep that going, as it is going to be a tough season for us,” he said.
15. Johan Tromp
14. Siviwe Soyizwapi
13. Burton Klaasen
12. Waylon Murray
11. Sampie Mastriet
10. Kobus Marais
9. Ricky Schroeder (C)
8. Christiaan de Bruin
7. Sebastian Ferreira
6. Vince Jobo
5. David Antonites
4. Tazz Fuzani
3. Vukile Sofisa
2. Mike Willemse (VC)
1. Justin Forwood
16. Martin Bezuidenhout
17. Barend Potgieter
18. Ettienne Oosthuizen
19. Luke van der Smit
20. Jacques Fick
21. Minenhle Mthethwa
22. Lungelo Goza
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