Cape Town - Robert du Preez will make his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers on Saturday when they take on the Sharks in Durban, and he will do so in a position where he hasn’t played a lot of rugby this season.
The 21-year-old has featured for the Western Province Vodacom Cup side eight times in 2015, but he has played most of his rugby at inside centre and flyhalf.
He will start at fullback on Saturday, and joins substitutes Jan de Klerk and Godlen Masimla in the trio of players set to make their Super Rugby debuts.
But coach Allister Coetzee, who has emphasised that Saturday’s clash is about more than simply giving his fringe players a run, thinks that Du Preez at fullback is an exciting prospect.
"The big thing about backline players, and especially 10s and 15s, their most underrated attribute is their communication skills," said Coetzee.
“Forget about the core skills of kicking and passing, if they can’t organise and talk then there’s a lack of something.
"Robert brings that as 15, which is good. He’s got to own that space at the back in communication with his wingers, when to be up and who has got to come across, he’s got to organise that."
Coetzee added that Du Preez, son of former Springbok scrumhalf Robert du Preez, would also serve as flyhalf back-up to the struggling Kurt Coleman.
"I like Robert at 15. I haven’t watched a lot of Vodacom Cup games this year because of our fixtures obviously," the coach said.
"His communication skills are good, he’s quite big and strong if he’s tested under the high ball and he’s good a good right boot on him so I’m keen to see how he goes this weekend."
It will also be a big Saturday for Jaco Taute, who makes his return to the Stormers first side after recovering from a lengthy knee injury. Taute will start at inside centre, and Stormers management appear set on the idea that his future at the franchise lies there.
"He’s really been unfortunate with big injuries since he’s been with us," said Coetzee.
"Taute has been moved to 12, for his organisational skills first and foremost. He’s good at directing play, he’s physical … I think the game and the way we want to play suits him better at 12 right now."
The match kicks-off at 19:10.
15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S’bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Renaldo Bothma, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Khaya Majola, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Heimar Williams
15. Robert du Preez, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Jaco Taute, 11. Pat Howard, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Nizaam Carr (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Michael Willemse, 1. Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Ali Vermaak, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Jan de Klerk, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Godlen Masimla, 22. Seabelo Senatla, 23. Kobus van Wyk