Coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to the DHL Stormers starting line-up for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth (17h05).
Don Armand replaces the injured Siya Kolisi (ankle) at loose forward for the trip to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with fit-again forwards Pat Cilliers and Rynhardt Elstadt being named on the bench.
Springbok prop Cilliers comes in for Ross Geldenhuys as one of the Stormers’ two front row reserves, whilst Elstadt’s return offsets Armand’s promotion to the starting XV in place of Kolisi.
In a final change to the Stormers 22, meanwhile, Nic Groom rejoins the matchday squad as the scrumhalf replacement with Dewaldt Duvenage dropping out altogether from last weekend.
“Obviously it’s a big blow to lose Siya because he’s a quality player, but I have no doubt (that) Don Armand will step up to the plate. He has been working hard and he has played for us at seven, so it made for an easy decision and a seamless change,” said Coetzee.
“Don has always been an integral part of our line-out work. As a seven flank he does that very well, his defensive line-out work is also very good and he is very good at playing towards the ball.
“We have got Deon Fourie who can carry well, Don who plays to the ball and Nizaam Carr who is also a good ball-carrier, so the balance is still there.”
The Stormers beat the Cheetahs 28-3 at DHL Newlands last Saturday and looking ahead to this week’s challenge away from home, coach Coetzee said: “We’re expecting one helluva battle in PE.
“I know, from experience, that it’s best to forget about (our win over the Cheetahs) and we’ve put in the hard yards ahead of the Southern Kings game.
“We still want to improve our log position and keep building on what we’ve been working on during June. I was obviously very pleased with the Cheetahs game, and it gives one confidence, but our plan has always been to win these last three games; that’s where the focus is.”
The DHL Stormers team to take on the Kings is as follows:
15. Joe Pietersen (Will play his 50th match for the DHL Stormers)
14. Gio Aplon
13. Juan de Jongh
12. Damian de Allende
11. Bryan Habana (vice-captain)
10. Elton Jantjies
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Don Armand
6. Deon Fourie (captain)
5. De Kock Steenkamp
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Brok Harris
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Martin Bezuidenhout
17. Pat Cilliers
18. Gerbrandt Grobler
19. Rynhardt Elstadt
20. Nic Groom
21. Gary van Aswegen
22. Gerhard van den Heever
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)