Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus made four changes – of which two are positional – to his side for Saturday’s vital Super 14 match against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Schalk Ferreira is back at loosehead prop in place of Brian Mujati, who reverts to his favourite tighthead position. Brok Harris, who started at tighthead prop against the Waratahs last Saturday at Newlands, moves back to the substitutes’ bench.
And Peter Myburgh gets a start at flank in place of Robbie Diack, with Luke Watson moving back to No 8. Diack is on the bench after starting at No 8 against the Waratahs.
Erasmus said the front row is the same one that started against the Highlanders, who is also a formidable scrummaging pack.
“It is still going to be tough, but I’m confident in the guys,” said the former Springbok flank.
“It was a bit of a struggle in the beginning to make sure Schalk’s neck was fine and that he was confident coming straight from club rugby and training with us and then playing when JD Moller got injured.
“It was a difficult time for us in the team. We wanted to see how he (Ferreira) reacted and he reacted well. Then we had to get him Super 14 match fit.
“I was thinking about the semi-final maybe coming up and that is why we gave him 30 or 40 minutes here and 60 there and while we were doing that Brian had to bite the bullet at loosehead which is obviously not his preferred position.
“Now we can say Scahlk is pretty much match fit and Brian is obviously very comfortable at tighthead. There was always a plan behind it.
“We are just happy we didn’t get major injuries. Of course at the beginning of the season we had five top class props. Then Eddie (Andrews) and JD got injured and Schalk was in an accident.
“You cannot sign more than six first class quality props, so it was a bad run for us there.”
Explaining the reason for bringing in the young Myburgh: Erasmus said: “The Lions are very strong at the breakdown, not only in the way they clean at the rucks, but also in the way they steal the ball on the ground.
“It’s going to be a massive test for Piet and the guys.
“It’s a skill I believe Loffie (Eloff, Lions coach) coaches very well. They’re 14th on log, but their commitment to competing at the breakdown has been fantastic.”
The Vodacom Stormers team is as follows:
15. Conrad Jantjes
14. Wylie Human
13. Gcobani Bobo
12. Jean De Villiers (C)
11. Sireli Naqelevuki
10. Peter Grant
9. Ricky Januarie
8. Luke Watson
7 Francois Louw
6. Pieter Myburgh
5. Andries Bekker
4. Adriaan Fondse
3. Brian Mujati
2. Schalk Brits
1. Schalk Ferreira
16. Deon Fourie
17. Brok Harris
18. Ross Skeate
19. Robbie Diack
20. Bolla Conradie
21. Tony Brown
22. Dylan Des Fountain