In Cape Town the north-south derby is expected to be epic despite the DHL Western Province and the Vodacom Blue Bulls both fielding relatively inexperienced teams.
Both coaches named a handful of debutantes due to Springbok call-ups, and in the Pretoria team’s case specifically, injuries and the departure of a few key players.
However, both sides also boast a bunch of experienced campaigners, including Western Province’s Gio Aplon, Rynhardt Elstadt and inspirational captain Deon Fourie, and Willie Wepener, Wilhelm Steenkamp and Waylon Murray from the Bulls, who will be expected to lead by example.
The clash will be particularly important for new Blue Bulls captain and No8 Jono Ross, with the clash marking his run-on debut for the side.
With both team’s priding themselves on their strong forwards, the clash is expected to be tight.
But with exciting backs such as the Blue Bulls’ Tony Jantjies and Sampie Mastriet, and WP’s Aplon and Cheslin Kolbe at bay, it should be entertaining.
“We are excited about the potential of our team,” Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said.
“We have a lot of young players and Newlands is a severe test to even an experienced player, but if ever there was a time to justify the structures and depth at the union, this is it. We have a lot of faith in our structures and the younger players have all proved themselves. There is also a good core of experience, so we are looking forward to a good Currie Cup season.”
DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee was equally excited about the talent in his team and said: “We’re looking ahead to the 2013 Absa Currie Cup season – it’s another great opportunity for us to unearth some new talent.
North-South derbies are always big games and we’re not expecting anything different this weekend. We’re excited to be starting our campaign at home and we’re hoping to have a big crowd at DHL Newlands.”
DHLWestern Province: <15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Pat Howard, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (capt), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Alistair Vermaak, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Ruan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Berton Klaasen.
Vodacom Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudi Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellett. Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Marcell van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.
Kick-off:17:05 (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge