There are eight Springboks in the DHL Stormers matchday squad for their return to rugby against the Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Vodacom SuperFan Saturday.
They will face the Johannesburg outfit at 19h00 on Saturday in the second match of a doubleheader which will see the Cell C Sharks take on the Vodacom Bulls beforehand.
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Warrick Gelant starts at fullback and will make his first appearance for the DHL Stormers, while the likes of prop Leon Lyons, utility forward Hannes Gouws, flyhalf Tim Swiel, centre Michal Hazner, wing Angelo Davids and fullback Tristan Leyds are all set to earn their first DHL Stormers caps from the extended replacements bench.
Gelant is joined by fellow Springboks Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, captain Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff in the starting line-up, while Bongi Mbonambi is among the replacements.
Wing Leolin Zas will make his first appearance for the DHL Stormers since early 2017, having returned to his home franchise last year.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that there is plenty of excitement among the squad to finally get back onto the field and pull the jersey on.
“It has been a while for everyone, players coaches and our fans are all hungry for rugby, so we cannot wait to get there and take the next step as we build towards the new competition which kicks off next month.
“Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point and while it will be great to see our high-profile players out on the pitch, we are also looking forward to seeing some new faces and seeing how they go against a quality Emirates Lions side,” he said.
DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Leolin Zas, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Hannes Gouws, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Michal Hazner, 25 Angelo Davids, 26 Tristan Leyds.