The DHL Stormers have announced just three changes to their starting line-up, with two new faces on the bench, for Saturday’s all-South African Vodacom Super Rugby meeting with the Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).
The DHL Stormers can secure a third South African Conference title with a victory against the in-form Lions and the return of Schalk Burger, from a week’s rest – as per the SA Rugby rest agreement with the SA Franchises, will boost the home side significantly.
Burger’s return sees Nizaam Carr drop down to the bench, with Sikhumbuzo Notshe, a try-scorer off the bench against the Cheetahs last weekend, missing out altogether.
Joining Burger back in the starting line-up are hooker Bongi Mbonambi (in for the injured Scarra Ntubeni) and tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, who swaps with Vincent Koch.
Koch drops down to the bench where he is joined by two members of the DHL Western Province Vodacom Cup team, hooker Michael Willemse and utility back Jaco Taute – adding to a strong group of replacements, which also includes Oli Kebble, Jean Kleyn, Carr, Louis Shcreuder and Kurt Coleman.
Speaking about the strength of the DHL Stormers’ bench, coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “I thought a guy like Nizaam played superbly against the Cheetahs last week and he will add something from the bench this week, as will the two new faces and guys like Oli, Vincent, Jean, Louis and Kurt who are equally capable of playing starting roles for us.
“In a competition like this you need a strong replacements bench and I am satisfied with our final selection in what was a tough selection week with the Springbok training camp and the return to fitness of some players.”
The DHL Stormers and the Lions are in first and second place, respectively, on the SA Conference log with the latter playing in their final league match of 2015 – knowing that only a victory will keep alive their conference title hopes.
Said Coetzee: “The Lions’ results this season speak for themselves – they’re a form team with plenty of self-belief and why not?
“We know we’re in for a tough game against a team that asks a helluva lot of questions of you, especially in the set-piece.”
Match tickets, priced between R80 and R140, can still be purchased for Saturday, the final league match of 2015 at DHL Newlands – either online, at http://wprugby.computicket.com, or from Computicket outlets and Shoprite & Checkers stores nationwide.
The DHL Stormers team to face the Lions (home) is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Dillyn Leyds
13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Seabelo Senatla
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Siya Kolisi
6. Schalk Burger
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Michael Willemse
17. Oli Kebble
18. Vincent Koch
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Nizaam Carr
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Jaco Taute
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Quinton Immelman
TMO: Marius Jonker