Centre Juan de Jongh has recovered from an ankle injury and will lead the DHL Stormers in their third Vodacom Super Rugby tour match of 2015 – against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
De Jongh was an 11th hour withdrawal from the team last weekend, but he is fit to take his place in the No.13 shirt this week and assume the leadership responsibilities in the absence of Duane Vermeulen, who is back in South Africa as part of the rest agreement with SA Rugby.
Nizaam Carr returns to the No.8 position in place of Vermeulen in a new-look loose trio, which sees vice-captain Schalk Burger pack down at No.6 and Michael Rhodes making his first start (at No.7) since picking up a knee injury against the Lions at the end of February.
Siya Kolisi drops to the bench after two successive starts on tour and will be joined amongst the replacements this week by prop Vincent Koch, lock Jean Kleyn and centre/wing Huw Jones.
Koch makes way for Frans Malherbe in the No.3 shirt – in what will be Springbok tighthead prop Malherbe’s first start of 2015 – Kleyn comes in for Ruan Botha as the lock replacement and Jones reverts to the bench after an impressive starting debut in place of De Jongh last week.
Speaking from Sydney on Thursday evening (local time), DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “We have kept continuity in our starting team, whilst also selecting a bench that can make an impact, in what we believe is the best possible DHL Stormers team to take on the Waratahs this week.
“Vincent Koch has done really well and has shown that he can perform at this level, but this is a good time to give Frans Malherbe a start,” explained Coetzee.
“If you look at our bench, the likes of Bongi Mbonambi, Oli Kebble, Vince, Jean Kleyn and Siya Kolisi can all make an impact as replacements, which gives us plenty of options and is part of our thinking.
“Siya loses out this week after playing very well on tour thus far, but Nemo has had to come in as the specialist No.8 and we feel that Mike Rhodes’s selection at No.7 gives us more balance in the loose trio and Schalk, as we know, can fill any role in the loose trio with ease.”
The DHL Stormers and ‘Tahs have met on seven previous occasions in Sydney, with the hosts shading the head to head battle by four wins to three. In all, these teams have played against each other 17 times, with the DHL Stormers winning seven and losing nine and the sides drawing once.
Saturday’s match will get underway at 19h40 local time, which is 11h40 SA time and will be televised live on SuperSport One.
The DHL Stormers team to face the Waratahs (away) is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Dillyn Leyds
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Michael Rhodes
6. Schalk Burger (vice-captain)
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Oli Kebble
18. Vincent Koch
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Siya Kolisi
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Huw Jones
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)