Coach Allister Coetzee has confidence in the young players to step up to the mark when Vodacom Western Province take on the Lions in Johannesburg on Friday evening in an Absa Currie Cup match.
The coach not only has to make do without his Springbok stars but the injury bogey has struck too and the squad is depleted by injuries. Coetzee, however, prefers to be optimistic about the changes he was forced to make to the side.
"If you're sitting with 8 to 10 Boks out of the mix and your actual squad has been depleted by injuries, then it's becoming a bit of a worry. But we back the young players like Callie Visagie, and Deon Fourie gets an opportunity to start for us this week."
The exciting Fourie will be starting in place of the injured Tiaan Liebenberg at hooker, with Visagie due for a WP debut if he gets a run.
JD Moller is also back in the starting XV at prop in place of Wicus Blaauw, who reverts to the bench. Coetzee explained the swop: "Wicus has picked up a few niggles, and then you come back for a week and you sit out for a week, but I think it's more a tactical substitution."
The former Springbok assistant coach said he was not worried that there would be a problem at scrum time for his side. "Mark Lawrence is one of the best scrum refs.
"There's always an argument both ways... there's always a lot of speculation there. (Forwards coach) Matt (Proudfoot) has looked at it and hopefully we've learnt from our mistakes."
Coetzee also opted to leave the promising young flyhalf Lionel Cronje out of the match day squad and instead went for Conrad Hoffmann as flyhalf cover. "Instead of Lionel having to play 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there, it's a good time to give him an 80 minute run with the Under-21s to make sure that he stays match fit."
He also opted for a 5-2 split between forwards and backs on the bench. "They're a side that's strong at set piece time. They ask questions at scrum time and they're a physical team.
"We had a good look at how we played so well when we played them at Newlands, and going to a 5-2 split will help us to keep up the physical intensity for 80 minutes."