The Stormers can secure a third South African Conference title with a victory against the in-form Lions and the return of Schalk Burger, from a week’s rest – as per the SA Rugby rest agreement with the SA Franchises, will boost the home side significantly.
Burger’s return sees Nizaam Carr drop down to the bench, with Sikhumbuzo Notshe, a try-scorer off the bench against the Cheetahs last weekend, missing out altogether.
Joining Burger back in the starting line-up are hooker Bongi Mbonambi (in for the injured Scarra Ntubeni) and tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, who swaps with Vincent Koch.
Koch drops down to the bench where he is joined by two members of the Western Province Vodacom Cup team, hooker Michael Willemse and utility back Jaco Taute – adding to a strong group of replacements, which also includes Oli Kebble, Jean Kleyn, Carr, Louis Shcreuder and Kurt Coleman.
Speaking about the strength of the DHL Stormers’ bench, coach Allister Coetzee said: “I thought a guy like Nizaam played superbly against the Cheetahs last week and he will add something from the bench this week, as will the two new faces and guys like Oli, Vincent, Jean, Louis and Kurt who are equally capable of playing starting roles for us.
“In a competition like this you need a strong replacements bench and I am satisfied with our final selection in what was a tough selection week with the Springbok training camp and the return to fitness of some players.”
The DHL Stormers and the Lions are in first and second place, respectively, on the SA Conference log with the latter playing in their final league match of 2015 – knowing that only a victory will keep alive their conference title hopes.
Said Coetzee: “The Lions’ results this season speak for themselves – they’re a form team with plenty of self-belief and why not?
“We know we’re in for a tough game against a team that asks a helluva lot of questions of you, especially in the set-piece.”
Team: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Jaco Taute - ANA
Original source: Stormers change three for Lions clash