SA Under-20 star Dan du Plessis will line up in the No.12 jersey for DHL Western Province’s Under-21s in Saturday’s Absa Provincial Under-21 clash against the Leopards at Potchefstroom’s Profert Olën Park (kick-off 13h50).
Du Plessis comes in for Jarryd Sage in one of just two changes to the Province Under-21 starting XV from last weekend – the other seeing SP Ferreira start at scrumhalf in place of Justin Phillips, who took a bang to the head in his team’s excellent 24-19 win over the previously unbeaten Lions.
Jason Marcus comes on to the bench this week, as scrumhalf cover, with head coach Robbie Fleck wisely keeping the changes to a minimum after his team’s second win in succession.
Fleck told the www.wprugby.com website: “I was, as one would expect, very happy with last week’s performance against a very good Lions Under-21 team!
“However, the guys need to back up that win and build on the positives from the Lions game. I have never doubted this team’s ability, but this is a young side (at this level) and they will learn and keep getting better as the season progresses.”
On the return of Du Plessis, a star man for the South African Under-20 team during the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy, Fleck added: “Dan was meant to have started last week, but he picked up an injury at Thursday’s training session.
“He is a quality player, of that there is no doubt, and I am keen to see how he operates with his cousin, Jean-Luc, as our 10-12 axis. Unfortunately Justin (Phillips) is missing this week, but I have full faith in SP and Jason to do the job for us at scrumhalf.”
The DHL WP U21s are currently in third place on the Absa Provincial Under-21 log, but they do have a game in hand over the log-leading Lions.
“We’re not worried about log positions or permutations at this stage of the season,” said Fleck.
“I just want to see this team continue to build on the positives so far and to hopefully come away from Potch with four more points ahead of next week’s home game at DHL Newlands.”
The DHL WP Under-21 team for Saturday (v Leopards, away) is as follows:
15. Grant Hermanus
14. Khanyo Ngcukana
13. EW Viljoen
12. Daniel du Plessis
11. Leolin Zas
10. Jean-Luc du Plessis (vice-captain)
9. SP Ferreira
8. Rikus Bothma (captain)
7. Christo van der Merwe
6. Luke Stringer
5. David Ribbans
4. Johannes Momsen
3. Frans van Wyk
2. Chad Solomon
1. Wesley Adonis
16. Martin Wipplinger
17. Liam Hendricks
18. Devon Nash
19. Luke van der Smit
20. Jason Marcus
21. Ryno Eksteen
22. Sibahle Maxwane
Referee: Ben Crouse