Du Toit, Vermaak start for Stormers
Cape Town - Pieter-Steph du Toit and Jano Vermaak will both earn their first Super Rugby caps for the Stormers in the clash with the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday (17:15 kick-off).
Lock Du Toit and scrumhalf Vermaak take their place in the starting line-up for the blockbuster opening match, while experienced prop JC Janse van Rensburg is also in line to make his Super Rugby debut for the Stormers should he take the field from the bench.
Joining Janse van Rensburg among the replacements are promising youngsters JD Schickerling and Leolin Zas who will make their Super Rugby debut should they get the opportunity.
Juan de Jongh will lead the team from inside centre, with his fellow co-captain Frans Malherbe set to make an impact off the bench as he works his way back from an ankle injury.
De Jongh will link up with Johnny Kotze in midfield, with Robert du Preez earning his second Super Rugby cap, and his first at flyhalf.
In the loose trio, stalwart Schalk Burger is joined by No 8 Nizaam Carr and Sikhumbuzo Notshe in the first match of his final season with the Stormers, with Siya Kolisi starting on the bench having recently returned to full training following a calf strain.
In the second row, Du Toit is joined by Eben Etzebeth in an exciting new lock partnership, and in the front row props Oli Kebble and Vincent Koch get an opportunity to start alongside hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his side is determined to rise to the occasion in their highly anticipated opening game.
“We have put in plenty of hard work in the build-up to this game, and we are excited to get out there in front of what should be a fantastic crowd, as ever at Newlands,” he told the Stormers’ official website.
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Leolin Zas
15 Warrick Gelant , 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Burger Odendaal