DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers will make his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby appearance when he leads his team out against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday morning (SA time).
De Villiers will become just the second DHL Stormers Super Rugby centurion, following in the footsteps of lock Andries Bekker who reached that landmark in last year’s tournament.
The 33-year-old star made his debut against the Sharks on February 25, 2005 on the left-wing and he will line up in his customary centre position this week in what is a deserved 100th Super Rugby game for one of WP Rugby’s most loyal sons.
“Jean epitomises what it means to be a Stormer,” said DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
“He is a true warrior and a real WP Rugby man and we’re hoping to make this 100th game special for him, which he deserves.”
Meanwhile, Coetzee has made three enforced changes to the DHL Stormers’ starting line-up for Friday’s clash against the double defending champions on their home patch.
Ruan Botha will start at lock (in place of the injured Michael Rhodes) and earn his first Super Rugby cap for the DHL Stormers in the process, whilst the experienced duo of Tiaan Liebenberg (hooker) and Brok Harris (tighthead prop) come into the front row as replacements for Scarra Ntubeni and Frans Malherbe, respectively.
Malherbe, despite suffering a toe injury last week, drops down to the bench, whilst loose forward Siya Kolisi is back in the 23 after resting his troublesome AC Joint last weekend and Vodacom Cup hooker Stephan Coetzee comes into a Super Rugby matchday squad for the first time.
Should Malherbe not come through a final fitness test this week, Boland Cavaliers prop Martin Dreyer – who will be flying to New Zealand from Cape Town with hooker Coetzee on Tuesday – will come into the matchday 23.
The DHL Stormers team for Friday (v the Chiefs) is as follows:
15. Jaco Taute
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Jean de Villiers (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Gio Aplon
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Schalk Burger (vice-captain)
6. Deon Fourie
5. De Kock Steenkamp
4. Ruan Botha
3. Brok Harris
2. Tiaan Liebenberg
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Oliver Kebble
18. Frans Malherbe
19. Siya Kolisi
20. Nizaam Carr
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Peter Grant
23. Sailosi Tagicakibau
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)