Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says lock Eben Etzebeth is raring to go as they prepare to face the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby clash in Wellington on Friday.
Etzebeth takes over the No 4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, with the latter dropping out of the match-day squad altogether - along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No 8 last week.
On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No 19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged replacements’ unit.
“Eben is 100% and ready to start again. He is a Springbok and he brings physicality and experience to the party which you need against New Zealand teams," Coetzee told the Stormers' official website.
“I think Jean Kleyn has done a great job for us in Eben’s absence and I must give him credit, but this is our strongest possible pack at the moment and guys like Eben and Duane (Vermeulen), both of whom are highly-regarded Springboks, will add value in the physicality stakes and in other areas too.
“In terms of Nizaam Carr missing out, the Springbok No 8 (Vermeulen) is back and he understands that. Nizaam is a great player and he will be back to his best form, I know that and we will support him to get his confidence and form back.
“You can see Siya Kolisi’s game is picking up, and having a guy like Mike Rhodes on the bench gives us additional cover in the lock and back row positions as we start with a physical, yet mobile pack.
The Stormers and ‘Canes have met on New Zealand soil on seven previous occasions, with the men from the Cape holding a narrow 4-3 head-to-head advantage - including a hard-fought 18-16 victory in Palmerston North in 2013.
“The Hurricanes are a quality side, they’re the best in the competition as their 6-0 record suggests,” added Coetzee.
“(But) they’re also a confident team and happy playing at home... we need to pitch up and execute our plans if we are to have a chance of beating them.”
Friday's clash is scheduled to start at 08:35 (SA time).
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes
Substitutes: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Ben May, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Ruan Botha, 20. Michael Rhodes, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones