Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe rang the changes when he on Wednesday announced his side for Friday’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the Chiefs at Newlands (kick-off 18:30).
After last Friday’s disappointing defeat against the Western Force Van der Merwe promised he would make changes and on Wednesday he was true to his word. He made seven changes to the starting XV and a few more on the bench.
Gio Aplon has lost his place at fullback to Conrad Jantjes, who moves from left wing to the last line of defence. The 21-year-old Dylan des Fountain, normally a centre, will be making his Vodacom Stormers debut at wing on Friday.
Peter Grant is the new flyhalf in place of Naas Olivier. Van der Mewe said he wanted a more physical component in order for the Stormers to play a more direct game.
Therefore the pocket rocket Brent Russell, who made quite an impression on the attack when he went on as substitute flyhalf last weekend, is still on the bench.
Stormers veteran Bolla Conradie has also been demoted to the substitutes’ bench, with JP Joubert getting his first start for the Stormers.
Robbie Diack also gets his first Super 14 start after a promising Currie Cup campaign for Vodacom WP last year. He takes over at No 8 from the injured Joe van Niekerk.
There are two changes to the front row, with Brok Harris taking over at tighthead prop from Springbok Eddie Andrews and Tiaan Liebenberg adding a bit more beef to the front row.
He plays hooker in place of Schalk Brits, who moves to the bench. Van der Merwe opted for a full front row on the bench, with two props in Andrews and Schalk Ferreira joining Brits.
As part of the commemoration of the tenth of Stormers rugby, the Vodacom Stormers will play the Chiefs in a special jersey. Only 1200 of the black and white hoped jerseys have been produced by adidas and the strip will only be used in this one-off fixture.
The jersey marks the last time the team will play in black – a tribute to the past success of the brand and to the icons and players that helped forge it, and is also designed to help more closely align the Vodacom Stormers and Vodacom WP brands through the use of the hoops.
Vodacom Stormers: 15. Conrad Jantjes, 14. Breyton Paulse, 13. Corne Uys, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Dylan des Fountain, 10. Peter Grant, 9. JP Joubert, 8. Robbie Diack, 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Luke Watson (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Gerrie Britz, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. JD Moller. RESERVES: 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Eddie Andrews, Schalk Ferreira, 18. Francois van der Merwe, 19. Justin Melck, 21. Bolla Conradie, 22. Brent Russell.