Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has named his team to face the Chiefs in a Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday (15:00 kick-off).
Coetzee has opted for a new halfback combination, with Louis Schreuder and Kurt Coleman selected to start ahead of Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis.
Fit-again wing Kobus van Wyk also slots straight back into the starting XV after shaking off a calf muscle injury that delayed his start to the 2015 season. He wins back the No 14 jersey from Johnny Kotze who drops out of the squad this week.
Kotze, after an excellent start to his debut season at this level, is resting a slightly troublesome AC Joint, meaning that Van Wyk’s return to full fitness, after training at 100% with the team these past two weeks, is a timely one.
The return of Van Wyk is one of four changes to the unbeaten Stormers starting line-up.
At lock, meanwhile, Jean Kleyn comes in at No 4 for Eben Etzebeth, who is being rested as part of the South African Super Rugby franchises’ agreement with the Springboks. Kleyn, of course, came off the bench last Saturday as the Stormers made it four from four with a deserved 29-13 victory over the Sharks.
Regular No 5 lock Ruan Botha, over his minor concussion, returns to the match-day squad this week via the bench, where he is joined by experienced loose forward Schalk Burger, who is set to win his 99th cap for the Stormers.
While Burger is on the verge of his 100th appearance for the Stormers, following in the footsteps of Andries Bekker and Jean de Villiers before him, 23-year-old loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff will make his 50th appearance this Saturday.
“We’re in for a big one this weekend, of that there is no doubt,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website.
“It’s not for nothing that the Chiefs have won the Super Rugby title twice in the past three years and we need to be at our very best to win this one.
“They will test our defence in a different way, more so than before, as their biggest threat is the variety they bring on attack.”
The Stormers have a bye next weekend, after five games in a row, before they head abroad for a tough four-match tour of Australasia.
“Having a guy like Kobus - our first-choice right-wing since last year’s Super Rugby competition - back is indeed perfect timing for us, with Johnny in need of a rest (with his AC Joint) after making a good start to his first season at this level,” continued Coetzee.
“I have spoken before about increasing our squad capacity and Johnny’s performances in our first four games are proof of this, whilst Louis and Kurt have both made an impact off the bench this season and them starting this week, after great work from Nic and Demetri up until now, is also important in our long-term (season) planning.”
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Siya Kolisi, 6. Nizaam Carr, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Alistair Vermaak, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Ruan Botha, 20. Schalk Burger, 21. Nic Groom, 22. Demetri Catrakilis, 23. Huw Jones
News24Live's Nick Pawson (right) chats to new Stormers scrumhalf Louis Schreuder