Investec Stormers coach Gert Smal was forced to make a number of changes to his side for Saturday’s Super 12 match against the Chiefs at Newlands.
Breyton Paulse will get another crack at the fullback position after having been moved there shortly before last Saturday’s match against the Blues. Gaffie du Toit remains at flyhalf, having replaced Chris Rossouw, who suffered from the flu, at short notice last weekend.
Marius Joubert will be captain De Wet Barry’s new midfield partner after the withdrawal of Jean de Villiers due to a facial wound. Gus Theron will will be starting the game at left wing, with Tonderai Chavhanga at the right.
Good news for Stormers supporters is that No 8 Joe van Niekerk has recovered sufficiently from the ankle injury that bothered him all week long.
More good news is that flank Schalk Burger will be playing on Saturday after missing the previous two games with a heel injury. He takes the place of Gerrie Britz, who will be moving back to the more familiar lock position.
Britz takes the place of Rob Linde, who reverts to the bench in place of Ross Skeate. The latter will be returning to the Investec WP Vodacom Cup team.
Eddie Andrews will yet again pack down at tighthead prop in place of Faan Rautenbach, who couldn’t recover sufficiently from a calf injury. Riaan Olckers will start at loosehead again after being promoted to the starting XV shortly before kick-off last Saturday as Rautenbach was forced out.
Quinton Davids (ankle), Adri Badenhorst (knee) and Werner Greeff (concussion) were the other players who could not be considered.
Coach Gert Smal, when announcing the side on Thursday, reiterated his promise to fans that he will not rest until his team puts up a 80-minute performance.
“I won’t be happy till that last whistle of that last game if I have not seen a 80 minute performance such as we’ve put together during those first 20 minutes against the Blues. Then I will be happy. That is what I will work for until the end and the same goes for the team.
“The type of rugby we’ve played during those first 20 minutes – and I don’t want to go back to that all the time – that is the type of rugby we can play if we play to our potential and that is what we want to give to our supporters as well.
“Every game, especially over the next three weeks, is an opportunity under a huge amount of pressure to show what kind of individual you are. How you can handle pressure, how you can get out of pressure and get your game together.
“You need to put a proper game together for yourself first, for the team and for the spectators out there. I just want to state clearly if I say for your self first I think we owe it to ourselves. If you work for the team, the team will work for you – that is the motto within the Stormers. So it is not about individual performances, you still get to work for the team.”
Smal said the injuries have disrupted the Stormers, but it affords other players the opportunity to make their mark at Super 12 level.