The Vodacom Stormers will be looking to end the overseas part of their Vodacom Super 14 campaign on a high note when they take on the Western Force in Perth on Friday.
The Stormers did well by winning the first two games on tour, but then last weekend they came unstuck against the Blues in Auckland. They know they have to outfox the Force if they want to keep their hopes of a semifinal berth alive.
Coach Rassie Erasmus this week resisted the temptation of giving All Black recruit Tony Brown a start at flyhalf and also included two mobile and athletic locks in Ross Skeate and Andries Bekker.
He expected a more open game than was the case against the Blues last Saturday. “It should be a more open game this week. The Blues were very physical and we also didn’t get a lot of ball, as they contested well at the set pieces and breakdowns,” explained Erasmus.
The Stormers have a bone to pick with the Force, who convincingly beat them at Newlands last season. The final score was 22-3.
The previous year the Stormers won 26-25 in Perth, but John Mitchell’s men are much improved this season and the Cape Town boys will have to be at their best to come out on top.
Western Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Scott Staniforth, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Scott Daruda, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau (vice-captain), 9 Chris O’Young, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fava, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Tom Hockings, 3 AJ Whalley, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Pek Cowan. Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Troy Takiari, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tamaiti Horua, 20 James Stannard, 21 Lachlan MacKay, 22 Nick Cummins.
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (captain), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller. Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Adriaan Fondse, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Gio Aplon, 22 Tony Brown.
Kick-off: 13:00 (SA time)
Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)