Schoolboy rugby star Grant Hermanus will make his debut for the DHL Western Province Under-19 team when they take on the EP U19s at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Friday (kick-off 16h30).
Hermanus, a star performer for the unbeaten DHL WP Under-18 team last year, has just recently returned to full fitness and celebrated his comeback by helping Paarl Gym overcome Paarl Boys’ High School in Paarl last weekend.
Now, however, he gets to climb another ladder in the WP set-up and he will join his fellow Coca-Cola Craven Week stars from 2013, Heinrich Buhr, Dewald Naude, Jarryd Sage, Damian Stevens, Rikus Bothma and Charlton Jonas, in the Under-19 team ranks.
Eighthman Bothma continues as captain of the unbeaten DHL WP Under-19s, but it’s a team without the injured Leolin Zas (wing), Michael de Waal (flank), Johan Momsen (lock) and Daniel du Plessis (hooker) this week. Centre Daniel du Plessis, meanwhile, is ill and will sit out.
Fullback Heinrich Buhr and centre Ryan Oosthuizen will make their first starts of 2014, with fit-again flyhalf Brandon Thomson named on the bench, whilst replacement hooker Hanno Snyman and utility forward Michael Teichmann join fellow WP Rugby Academy stars, Lebohang Mdakane and Mihlali Mtongana, in the matchday squad.
Coach Nazeem Adams told www.wprugby.com: “It’s always a tough place to play, Port Elizabeth, but we’re looking forward to the challenge of building on our unbeaten start to the season.
“It was my intention to rest one or two players, which I have done, but we’ve also been forced into a few injury-enforced changes, most notably Leolin Zas, who has a finger injury, and (hooker) Du Plessis who could be out for a while with a shoulder problem.
“Players like Ryan Oosthuizen and Heinrich Buhr are looking forward to their first starts. It’s great to welcome Brandon Thomson into the fray, now that he’s recovered from injury, and Hanno Snyman and Michael Teichmann have doubled the number of WPRA players this week.”
The DHL WP Under-19 team for Friday (v Eastern Province) is as follows:
15. Heinrich Buhr 14. Dewald Naude 13. Jarryd Sage 12. Ryan Oosthuizen 11. Grant Hermanus 10. Ernst Stapelberg 9. Brendon Nell 8. Rikus Bothma (captain) 7. Luke Stringer 6. Charlton Jonas 5. Floris Pelser 4. Ruan du Preez 3. Lebohang Mdakane 2. Paul-Martin Wipplinger 1. Kyle Whyte
Replacements: 16. Hanno Snyman 17. Mihlali Mtongana 18. Francois van der Merwe 19. Michael Teichmann 20. Dylan Harlen 21. Damian Stevens 22. Brandon Thomson 23. Adriaan Carelse