Lock Eben Etzebeth is back from his enforced week of Springbok rest and he will be joined in the DHL Stormers pack by loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).
Etzebeth was rested from last week’s defeat to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein as part of the South African Franchises’ agreement with SA Rugby, whilst Kitshoff was given a break as part of the DHL Stormers’ rotation policy.
Etzebeth will wear the No.4 shirt this weekend, with Kitshoff lining up at loosehead prop. Jean Kleyn drops down to bench after starting against the Cheetahs, whilst Manuel Carizza will start at No.5 in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle). Kitshoff, meanwhile, replaces Oli Kebble in the No.1 shirt with Alistair Vermaak remaining on the bench.
Vice-captain Juan de Jongh has been named at outside centre, but he has been bracketed with Huw Jones after suffering a hip pointer injury against the Cheetahs.
De Jongh has made a better recovery than initially anticipated, but will still be given until kick-off on Saturday. Jones will start at No.13 should De Jongh not be available, with Pat Howard set to come onto the bench.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “Juan’s recovery has been a lot quicker than we thought, as this is normally a ten-day injury, but we still give him until kick-off on Saturday should he show any late discomfort.
“We will never play a player if he is not ready, but Juan has made a lot of progress and came through his fitness test today.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s clash against the Australian Conference leaders, Coetzee added: “The Brumbies are a very good side.
“They’re very structured and don’t gift you any possession. They’re well coached and well organised in all aspects of their game. They’ve got a great maul and line-out (attacking-wise and defensively) and we really have to be up for this one.
“We’re obviously aware that we weren’t good enough last week and although we’ve had a disrupted week of training, with a lot of our players having been with the Springboks up until yesterday, we’re looking forward to being back at home in front of our supporters at DHL Newlands.”
* Match tickets, priced between R80 and R140, can still be purchased ahead of Saturday’s matches at DHL Newlands – with DHL Western Province playing against the SWD Eagles in the Vodacom Cup beforehand (kick-off 14h45) – either online, at http://wprugby.computicket.com, or from Computicket outlets and Shoprite & Checkers stores nationwide.
The DHL Stormers team to face the Brumbies (home) is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Johnny Kotze
13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain) / Huw Jones
12. Damian de Allende
11. Dillyn Leyds
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. Scarra Ntubeni
17. Ali Vermaak
18. Vincent Koch
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Nizaam Carr
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Huw Jones / Pat Howard
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)