Ntubeni starts, Carr at No 8 for Stormers


The bustling hooker last wore the No 2 jersey in the corresponding fixture against the Japanese side at Newlands on April 8, and will welcome the opportunity to prove that he should be part of the Springbok squad for the three-Test series against Ireland in June.

Ntubeni has been battling with his fitness this season, with the latest hamstring niggle having kept him out for a week or two. Bongi Mbonambi has been his usual busy self this season, and has improved his basic skills such as throwing into the lineout, so Ntubeni will have to produce a big performance to reclaim the hooker berth on a permanent basis.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck also reshuffled his loose trio once again, with Nizaam Carr returning to his preferred No 8 position at the expense of Schalk Burger, who goes back to the bench, with Siya Kolisi replacing Sikhumbuzo Notshe at blindside flank.

Rynhardt Elstadt has been moved to openside flank, which means that youngster JD Schickerling gets to start alongside Pieter-Steph du Toit in the second row.

There was one enforced change in the backline, with Johnny Kotze coming in for the suspended Leolin Zas at wing, while Fleck has handed Louis Schreuder a rare start at scrumhalf in place of Nic Groom.

After going down 32-30 to the Waratahs in their last match before the bye, the Stormers will go all out for victory and a bonus point against the Sunwolves (1.55pm SA time kickoff).

“It is great for us to be here as the first Stormers team to play in Singapore, but we have got a job to do and we are firmly focused on delivering an improved performance,” Fleck said in a statement on Thursday.

“The bye was good from a recovery point of view, but this phase of the competition is crucial for us and we have to hit the ground running against the Sunwolves.”

Stormers Team

15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kobus van Wyk, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Huw Jones.


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Original source: Ntubeni starts, Carr at No 8 for Stormers