Western Province have been dealt another injury blow, with a recurring rib injury likely to rule Rynhardt Elstadt out for the rest of the season.
The robust utility forward has been sidelined for the last few weeks and was expected to return to action against the Blue Bulls this weekend, but after taking another knock at training on Monday his chances of playing any more Currie Cup rugby this year look quite slim.
After waking up in some discomfort on Tuesday Elstadt was sent to a specialist for a scan and may require surgery.
That blow means that Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to the starting XV for their clash with the Blue Bulls, with Nic Groom and Louis Schreuder rotating at scrumhalf.
The WP boss has also opted for a five-two forwards split on the bench, with loose forward JJ Gagiano replacing centre Berton Klaasen in the matchday 22.
Western Province might have beaten the Blue Bulls 42-6 in their previous Currie Cup encounter this season, but coach Coetzee warned that a far tougher Bulls outfit would be waiting for his team at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
"They're definitely a desperate side and I can tell you that they'll come out firing in what will be a tough game for us.
"The Bulls are a proud union, this is unfamiliar territory for them. We really expect nothing less than the game of the season for them. It's a big challenge and it's one we're looking forward to," he said.
Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 JJ Gagiano, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Pat Howard.
Date: Friday, October 5
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10, 17.10 GMT
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