The Stormers have reverted to what is close to their best available starting XV for Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Cheetahs at Newlands.
Coach John Dobson opted to bench some of his leading lights for last week’s clash against Griquas in Kimberley‚ while scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies was away on compassionate leave.
His return is among five changes to the team that sees prop Frans Malherbe‚ hooker Scarra Ntubeni and lock Salman Moerat all listed among the starters.
Ruhan Nel‚ usually a direct but inventive operator in the midfield‚ will replace the injured Edwill van der Merwe on the right wing.
The return of Malherbe and Moerat will shore up a Stormers team that will need to assert itself in the tight exchanges. The Cheetahs successfully drew the sting from the powerful Bulls pack earlier this year, setting the tone for an upset win.
The Cheetahs have proved adept at drawing their opponents from their comfort zone and the Stormers will be wary of a team that has lost just once so far in this campaign.
With only two of their six Super Rugby Unlocked matches scheduled for Newlands‚ Dobson said his team was keen to capitalise on home soil.
“It is fantastic to be back at Newlands‚ although our fans will still be dearly missed‚ and we would like to build on our performance last week in Kimberley‚” said the coach after three successive away matches.
“We are focused on delivering an accurate display in what will be our last game in a Stormers jersey at Newlands this year‚” he said.
The last match of the Stormers campaign will be against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.
For this Saturday’s clash there are two potential Stormers debutants in prop Sazi Sandi and utility back Kade Wolhuter on the extended replacements bench.
Stormers: Warrick Gelant; Ruhan Nel‚ Dan du Plessis‚ Rikus Pretorius‚ Angelo Davids; Damian Willemse‚ Herschel Jantjies; Juarno Augustus‚ Ernst van Rhyn‚ Marcel Theunissen; JD Schickerling‚ Salmaan Moerat; Frans Malherbe‚ Scarra Ntubeni‚ Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi‚ Kwenzo Blose‚ Sazi Sandi‚ Neethling Fouche‚ Chris van Zyl‚ David Meihuizen‚ Ben-Jason Dixon; Godlen Masimla‚ Kade Wolhuter‚ Michal Hazner‚ Leolin Zas.
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