Springbok tight forwards Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit are all in the DHL Stormers starting line-up to face the Blues at DHL Newlands on Friday.
Locks Etzebeth and Du Toit have both recovered from injury niggles whilst tighthead prop Malherbe was rested against the Hurricanes before last week’s bye as part of the Springbok management plan.
As a result Wilco Louw and Jan de Klerk will feature off the replacements bench, with the only other change to the forward pack coming at loosehead prop where Oli Kebble switches with Ali Vermaak to claim the starting spot.
In the backline Dillyn Leyds steps into the flyhalf role he performed in Wellingon when Rob du Preez was forced from the field with a torn pectoral muscle and a fit-again Seabelo Senatla takes his place out on the left wing.
Experienced centre Damian de Allende returns from an ankle injury to feature on the replacements bench alongside Brandon Thomson who will provide flyhalf cover for the clash with the Auckland side.
DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that having a number of senior players back in the fold since returning from injury has been a big boost this week.
“It is great to have all of these players back in the mix and the players are determined to lift our game following the bye week.
“We have prepared well for this game and want to make the most of the opportunity to play in front of our fans at DHL Newlands again,” he said.
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Damian de Allende.