Etzebeth leads Stormers, Basson debuts
Cape Town - Lock Eben Etzebeth will captain the Stormers for the first time in their Super Rugby clash against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday (15:05 kick-off).
Etzebeth will lead the side at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi who is being rested.
There are two changes in the front row, with props Oli Kebble and Frans Malherbe making their first starts of the season on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Kolisi’s place at flank is taken by Sikhumbuzo Notshe, with Nizaam Carr back in the starting line-up at No 8.
In the backline, Dewaldt Duvenage will form a halfback partnership with Robert du Preez, with Jano Vermaak being rested and Jean-Luc du Plessis ruled out through injury.
Centre Dan du Plessis will make his first appearance of the season in place of the injured Dan Kriel, whilst out wide Cheslin Kolbe’s ankle injury means that Bjorn Basson will make his Stormers debut.
There are also three potential Super Rugby debutants on the bench, with loose forward Jaco Coetzee, scrumhalf Justin Phillips and utility back Damian Willemse all in line to earn their first Stormers cap.
Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said they are focused on building on the two victories they have earned this season - home matches against the Bulls and Jaguares.
“This will be our first away game of the campaign after two good wins at Newlands and we would like to see further improvements in our game this weekend.
“We always get great support as a team in Port Elizabeth, so we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday,” he said.
15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Rick Schroeder, 8 Riaan Lerm, 7 Themelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Willem van der Sluys, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Berton Klaasen
15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris Van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse