DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to his team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby meeting with the Brumbies in Canberra (kick-off 10h40 SA time).
One of the five changes is positional, with Gio Aplon shifting from wing to fullback, meaning a first-ever DHL Stormers start for Sailosi Tagicakibau (at No.11), with Peter Grant coming in at flyhalf for Demetri Catrakilis.
Grant, who will make his 93rd appearance for the DHL Stormers, will make his first start of 2014, whilst fit-again centre Juan de Jongh – who flew over to Sydney this week – will sit on the bench as he looks for his first taste of action this season.
“Demetri Catrakilis, the reserve scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and even Juan de Jongh will all be expected to play a crucial role late in the game, with Demetri’s potential to put over drop-goals perhaps a key to breaking any deadlock should there be one going into the last minutes,” said Coetzee.
“The reserves played a big role in bringing us back into the game against the Chiefs last week, and we are going to use them to up the tempo when the opposition are suffering from ‘dead’ legs.”
Up front, meanwhile, fit-again tighthead prop Frans Malherbe (toe injury) takes over from Brok Harris in the No.3 jersey – with the latter reverting to the bench – and Michael Rhodes (shoulder) is back in the mix as the lock replacement for De Kock Steenkamp, who flew home with a groin injury earlier this week.
“Ruan Botha played No.4 against the Chiefs and we felt it would be unfair to move him now,” said Coetzee.
“Michael Rhodes will call the line-outs, and he has done that before. Obviously he will also have a bit of help from Duane Vermeulen.
“Brok Harris was really good against the Chiefs but you have to remember the contribution that Frans (Malherbe) made before he was injured. Brok is another guy who can make a big impact off the bench.”
Looking ahead to the challenge of taking on the Brumbies on their home turf, coach Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “They’re a very physical team, using direct runners off (number) nine, so we have to front up and put our bodies on the line.
“They’re also a good kicking team. They use Jesse Mogg’s left foot and (they use) Nic White’s big right boot and then Matt Toomua has a massive kicking game too.
“But we’ve trained well in Sydney all week and we’re looking forward to the challenge. Like I’ve said before, there is no place to hide in Vodacom Super Rugby and our challenge is to win both our remaining games in Australia, starting with this weekend in Canberra against a very good Brumbies team.”
The DHL Stormers team for Saturday (v the Brumbies) is as follows:
15. Gio Aplon
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Jean de Villiers (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Sailosi Tagicakibau
10. Peter Grant
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Schalk Burger (vice-captain)
6. Deon Fourie
5. Michael Rhodes
4. Ruan Botha
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Tiaan Liebenberg
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Oliver Kebble
18. Brok Harris
19. Siya Kolisi
20. Nizaam Carr
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Demetri Catrakilis
23. Juan de Jongh
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)