Elephants out to surprise top dogs Province
Western Province have made five changes to their starting lineup for today’s SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash against the EP Elephants at the Police Rugby Club at Kemsley Park.
There are two changes to the backline and three in the forward pack compared with the side that thrashed the SWD Eagles 50-3.
Tristan Leyds is back at fullback and Grant Hermanus starts on the wing, with Duncan Saal providing cover on the replacements bench this week.
In the second row, Brendon Esterhuizen gets an opportunity to start at lock, while in the front row prop Ali Vermaak and hooker Scarra Ntubeni come into the starting lineup.
Dobson said to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign his team would need to be as sharp as possible.
“We know from past experience that it is tough going to Port Elizabeth, but it is an experience that we are all looking forward to,” Dobson said.
“We have done our best to keep as much continuity in selection as possible, so hopefully we can start building some momentum in our combinations and put together a cohesive performance.”
Table-topping WP have scored 26 tries in four games and will be hungry to increase that impressive haul.
If WP win today, it will be their 16th consecutive win in the Rugby Challenge after winning all 11 of their games last season to lift the title.
Though EP have yet to win a game, they came within a whisker of pulling off wins in their previous games against the Border Bulldogs and Boland Cavaliers.
“We will be looking for a shock win. When my boys go out they will give it their all,” EP coach Ryan Felix said.
When the sides met at the Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele on the opening day of the season, WP cruised to a comfortable 59-12 win over their hosts.
It was an early indication that WP, who scored nine sparkling tries in their win over EP, will once again be the team to beat this season.
So far EP have leaked 23 tries in four outings, and will have to put a latch on their back door to have any hope of matching WP. Today’s teams:
EP Elephants: (Nos 1 to 15): Xandre Vos, Mbeko Kota, Johan Van Wyk, Mncedisi Dlwengu, Anele Lungisa, Bakkies Brown, Wynand Grassmann, Siya Mdaka (capt) JP Smith, Ruben De Vos, Siphu Msutwana, Nkululeko Marwana, Siyanda Grey, Monwabisi Mkhwakhwi, Riaan Arendse.
Replacements (Nos 16 to 22): JP Jamieson, Dewald Barnard, Luphumlo Mgucwa, Quintin Hassbroek, Freddie Muller, Simon Bolze, Cheswin Van Wyk.
Western Province: (Nos 15 to 1): Tristan Leyds, Grant Hermanus, Dan Kriel, Dan du Plessis, Edwill van der Merwe, Joshua Stander, Justin Phillips, Jaco Coetzee, Luke Stringer (capt), Chris Massyn, Johan du Toit, Brendon Esterhuizen, Neethling Fouche, Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: (Nos 16 to 22): Chad Solomon, Michael Kumbirai, 18 Ernst van Rhyn, Marno Redelinghuys, Steph de Wit, Herschel Jantjies, Duncan Saal. Referee: Paul Mente. Kick-off: 2pm.