Habana shifts to midfield
Cape Town - Springbok wing Bryan Habana has been named at outside centre by the Stormers for their final warm-up match against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
He is the second established Bok wing to make the switch to midfield in recent times with the Sharks having played JP Pietersen there last week.
Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee said Habana would provide midfield back-up during the forthcoming Super Rugby season.
"Habana is no stranger to the outside centre berth since he started out his senior rugby career (with the Golden Lions) in that position," said Coetzee.
"He has been efficient in backline play and understands the team's systems on attack and defence.
"It will be great to see him play alongside an experienced centre like Jean (De Villiers) and I am excited to see how Bryan goes there."
The Cape side's first choice outside centre Juan de Jongh is nursing a jaw injury suffered against the Lions two weeks ago with Coetzee saying that the injury was still "sensitive" at this stage.
New recruit Gerhard van den Heever will start in Habana's place on the wing, with 11 players on the substitutes bench.
"I have an understanding with the Kings coach Alan (Solomons) that the match-day squad will be 26 players," Coetzee said.
"The idea is for both teams to give as many players a chance to get game time."
Two of the players who are in the Stormers' run-on XV, Andries Bekker (lock) and Duane Vermeulen (eighthman), will play for the time first time this year.
"It will be great to have Andries and Duane get in action after their long absence," Coetzee said.
"We'll have to see how they go and I'm hoping to have them playing for at least 30 minutes."
In the absence of scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage, the Stormers have opted for Louis Schreuder, while Nic Groom starts out on the bench.
There was no room for one of the pre-season stars Bolla Conradie.
"Conradie knows that we are giving everyone a chance to prove themselves and at this stage Duvenage and Schreuder are the front-runners," the coach explained.Teams:
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Bryan
Habana, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Gerhard van den Heever, 10 Gary van
Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya
Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhard Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan
Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.Substitutes:
Deon Fourie, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 19 Frans Malherbe,
20 Eben Etzebeth, 21 De Kock Steenkamp, 22 Nizaam Carr, 23 Nic Groom,
24 Marcel Brache, 25 Burton Francis, 26 Danie Poolman.