Fit-again DHL Stormers wing Kobus van Wyk will slot straight back into the starting XV for his team’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 15h00).
The powerful runner has shaken off the calf muscle injury that delayed his start to the 2015 season and wins back the No.14 jersey from Johnny Kotze who drops out of the squad this week.
Kotze, after an excellent start to his debut season at this level, is resting a slightly troublesome AC Joint, meaning that Van Wyk’s return to full fitness, after training at 100% with the team these past two weeks, is a timeous one.
The return of Van Wyk is one of four changes to the unbeaten DHL Stormers starting line-up – the other significant change being at halfback where Kurt Coleman and Louis Schreuder rotate with Demetri Catrakilis and Nic Groom, respectively.
At lock, meanwhile, Jean Kleyn comes in at No.4 for Eben Etzebeth, who is being rested as part of the South African Super Rugby franchises’ agreement with the Springboks. Kleyn, of course, came off the bench last Saturday as the DHL Stormers made it four from four with a deserved 29-13 victory over the Sharks.
Regular No.5 lock Ruan Botha, over his minor concussion, returns to the matchday squad this week via the bench, where he is joined by experienced loose forward Schalk Burger, who is set to win his 99th cap for the DHL Stormers.
Whilst Burger is on the verge of his 100th appearance for the DHL Stormers, following in the footsteps of Andries Bekker, Jean de Villiers and Peter Grant before him, 23-year-old loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff will make his 50th appearance this Saturday.
“We’re in for a big one this weekend, of that there is no doubt,” said DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee.
“It’s not for nothing that the Chiefs have won the Vodacom Super Rugby title twice in the past three years and we need to be at our very best to win this one.
“They will test our defence in a different way, more so than before, as their biggest threat is the variety they bring on attack.”
The DHL Stormers have a bye next weekend, which will come after five games in a row, before they head abroad for a tough four-match tour of Australasia.
Speaking about selection for this week, Coetzee told the official DHL Stormers (www.iamastormer.com) website: “Having a guy like Kobus – our first-choice right-wing since last year’s Super Rugby competition – back is indeed perfect timing for us, with Johnny in need of a rest (with his troublesome AC Joint) after making a good start to his first season at this level.
“I have spoken before about increasing our squad capacity and Johnny’s performances in our first four games are proof of this, whilst Louis and Kurt have both made an impact off the bench this season and them starting this week, after great work from Nic and Demetri up until now, is also important in our long-term (season) planning.”
* Match tickets, priced between R80 and R140, can still be purchased ahead of Saturday’s big game at DHL Newlands – either online, at wprugby.computicket.com, or from Computicket outlets and Shoprite & Checkers stores nationwide.
Supporters should not delay their purchasing, however, with ticket sales expected to increase significantly today ahead of Saturday’s clash between the South African and New Zealand Conference leaders.
The DHL Stormers team to face the Chiefs (home) is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Dillyn Leyds
10. Kurt Coleman
9. Louis Schreuder
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Siya Kolisi
6. Nizaam Carr
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Vincent Koch
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff (50th cap for DHL Stormers)
16. Neil Rautenbach
17. Alistair Vermaak
18. Frans Malherbe
19. Ruan Botha
20. Schalk Burger
21. Nic Groom
22. Demetri Catrakilis
23. Huw Jones
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)