Stormers name new-look squad
Cape Town - The return to South Africa of injured players has prompted a number of changes to the Stormers team that will face the Western Force in their final Vodacom Super Rugby tour match in Perth on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 11:40 SA time.
In all there are five changes to the starting team, one of them positional, from the one that beat the Reds 23-13 in Brisbane last week. The positional change is effectively just a switch of numbers as Andries Bekker returns in place of the injured Eben Etzebeth, who wasn’t able to prove his fitness in sufficient time to be considered for the game.
To cover for Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp moves from the No 5 lock position to No 4, with Bekker now taking over the captaincy from Duane Vermeulen, who has returned home to South Africa to have a knee ligament injury assessed. In the only unforced change to the side, and the only other change to the tight five, Brok Harris drops out to give Frans Malherbe an opportunity to start at tighthead.
Injured Springbok wing Gio Aplon makes way for Danie Poolman in what is a straight swap. This will be Poolman’s first Super Rugby start of the season, but he did play all eight of the games in the first half of last year’s competition and is a solid all-round player who should not let the team down. Poolman’s selection into the No 11 jersey is the only change to the backline.
Nizaam Carr takes over at No 8 from the injured Vermeulen. Perhaps the most significant changes are those that have taken place on the bench. Nick Koster, who would have played off the back of the scrum, has returned home to Cape Town to have a troublesome knee looked at by specialists. With Carr moving to the starting team, WP Vodacom Cup loose forward Don Armand gets his first chance on the bench.
Deon Fourie, normally a hooker, is the other loose forward back-up, with Scarra Ntubeni coming back into the match 22 as the back-up hooker to Tiaan Liebenberg. There is no back-up lock on the bench as Rynhardt Elstadt will cover that position. He played most of his first year of Super Rugby as a lock and excelled in the position.
The team differs quite substantially now from the one that started the tour against the Highlanders on Easter Saturday, but coach Allister Coetzee’s message from Perth was a positive one.
“Despite the injuries and some enforced changes, the touring group is in high spirits and is very motivated,” said Coetzee.
“Our motto for the week is: Nothing special has ever been achieved in ideal conditions. A win this week will be the difference between a good tour and a great one and this group knows that. We have picked a strong side, our training sessions this week have been excellent and we will be going all out for victory.”
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Bryan Habana, 12. Juan de Jongh, 11. Danie Poolman, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker (captain), 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Don Armand, 19. Deon Fourie, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. JP du Plessis