Scarra Ntubeni back, Deon Fourie cleared as WP gear up for Bulls semi-final at Loftus
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CAPE TOWN – Scarra Ntubeni will be back to spearhead the Western Province front row in Friday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, while Sazi Sandi has been rewarded for his impact off the bench with a starting berth.
Springbok front-ranker Ntubeni sat out of last week’s memorable 35-24 triumph over the Sharks in Durban, which saw Province pull off a bonus-point victory to qualify for the playoffs, and his experience and lineout-throwing accuracy will be welcomed by the Capetonians.
Sandi made a noticeable difference when coming on to the Kings Park pitch, with his all-action ball-carrying and big hits in defence, and he will look to take the fight to the powerful Bulls pack.
That has seen coach John Dobson hand him the No 3 jersey on Thursday, with the more experienced Neethling Fouché among the replacements.
But Dobson has stuck with the two loose forwards at lock, captain Ernst van Rhyn and Johan du Toit, despite specialist No 4 Salmaan Moerat returning to training from his neck injury this week.
Star No 8 Evan Roos is also still not over his leg injury, but Dobson will be delighted that new recruits, loose forwards Hacjivah Dayimani and Deon Fourie, are ready to go after both sustained injuries against the Sharks.
The bench is yet to be confirmed, although Bok fullback Warrick Gelant is among the players listed for possible involvement against the defending champions.
“We were pleased with the way the team stood up last week, and we will need to show the same pride in the jersey up in Pretoria on Friday, so we are very happy to be going in with most of the same combinations,” Dobson said on Thursday.
“We know that we will have to be accurate in all areas of our game and every player in our match-day squad is ready to give everything they have to get the result we need and book a place in the final.”
Western Province Team
15 Sergeal Petersen 14 Ruhan Nel 13 Juan de Jongh 12 Dan du Plessis 11 Edwill van der Merwe 10 Tim Swiel 9 Paul de Wet 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Marcel Theunissen 6 Deon Fourie 5 Johan du Toit 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain) 3 Sazi Sandi 2 Scarra Ntubeni 1 Leon Lyons.
Bench (from): 16 Andre-Hugo Venter 17 Dian Bleuler 18 Neethling Fouché 19 Justin Basson 20 Nama Xaba 21 Godlen Masimla 22 Rikus Pretorius 23 Tristan Leyds 24 Warrick Gelant.