Head coach Allister Coetzee has announced four personnel changes to the DHL Stormers starting XV ahead of their final 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tour match on Saturday – against the Western Force in Perth (kick-off 13h45 SA time).
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi, lock Ruan Botha, flanker Siya Kolisi and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder will all start this week, with prop Ali Vermaak and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe the new faces on the bench.
Notshe joins the matchday 23 this week as a replacement for Kolisi, who will start at No.6 – with Schalk Burger moving across to No.7 – in the absence of Mike Rhodes, who flew home with a hamstring tear suffered against the Waratahs last weekend.
The only other injury-enforced change from the Waratahs game – won 32-18 by the DHL Stormers – is Botha in for Manuel Carizza in the No.5 jersey, with the latter still battling with a cut on the inside of his mouth.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni and scrumhalf Nic Groom will provide an impact from the bench this week as the DHL Stormers chase a second successive win on tour (after their bonus point triumph in Sydney), before they return to South Africa for five home matches – at DHL Newlands – in seven weeks.
Coach Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “I would’ve loved to have given more opportunities to more players, but we didn’t want to make too many changes.
“It’s important that we take momentum from the Waratahs match into this weekend (in what is an important match) as we look to end our tour on a high.
“We have a positive feeling in our camp,” added Coetzee.
“In Super Rugby you always need to pitch up, otherwise your opposition will knock you off your perch. We need to ensure that we show intensity and urgency against the Force, and really be up for it, before we can even think about returning to South Africa.”
The DHL Stormers and the Western Force have met on four previous occasions in Perth, with the Men from the Cape tasting victory three times and losing by one point in 2010. Overall, these two sides have come up against each other in eight Super Rugby matches, with the DHL Stormers winning six times and losing twice.
* Saturday’s match will get underway at 19h45 local time, which is 13h45 SA time, and will be televised live on SuperSport One.
The DHL Stormers team to face the Force (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. Louis Schreuder
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Schalk Burger (vice-captain)
6. Siya Kolisi
5. Ruan Botha
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Scarra Ntubeni
17. Ali Vermaak
18. Vincent Koch
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
21. Nic Groom
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Huw Jones
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)