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    Stormers show flexibility, depth

    2016-05-12 21:45

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - As the Stormers look to wrap up top spot in the South African group of Super Rugby, coach Robbie Fleck has shown the depth and flexibility he has at his disposal ahead of Saturday's clash against the Sunwolves in Singapore. 

    Both Schalk Burger and Sikhumbuzo Notshe are benched for the clash, paving the return to the side of the scrum for the hard-hitting Rynhardt Elstadt. 

    Elstadt, who missed the start of the season through injury, has been used at lock by Fleck since making his comeback.

    Now, with young JD Schickerling getting a run in the starting lineup, Elstadt moves back to the loose forwards.

    "Rynhardt is getting back to full fitness now and I also wanted to give JD Schickerling some more game time," said Fleck from Singapore on Thursday.

    "The thoughts were initially that Pieter-Steph wasn’t going to come with us on this trip and we were hoping that Eben would be ready by this time but that wasn’t to be.

    "Rynhardt moving to the flank allows us to see him back in that No 6 position. I feel that he’s gone really well with Pieter-Steph and I felt that they actually formed a good combination."

    Fleck confirmed that he wanted Elstadt to play a full 80 minutes against thee Sunwolves and that he would move into the second row in the second half.

    "With Eben only coming back next week he probably won’t be able to play a full game so that’s also part of our thinking," Fleck said of moving Elstadt to lock.

    Burger and Notshe, meanwhile, are on the bench together for the first time this season as Siya Kolisi returns to the No 7 jersey and Nizaam Carr takes up No 8.

    Every starting loose trio for the Stormers in 2016 has come from those four players, and Fleck will soon have to decide what his best combination is.

    "Those two (Burger and Notshe) and all the loosies have been playing well," said Fleck.

    "We’ve been missing a bit of Siya’s ball carrying and I’m expecting a big game from him."

    There is another example of depth at hooker, where Scarra Ntubeni returns to the starting line-up in place of Bongi Mbonambi.  

    "Scarra hasn’t had much game time of late," said Fleck.

    "He’s been injured for some time and what’s important for the squad is that he gets more time. Bongi has been playing exceptionally well an when Scarra has played he’s also played exceptionally well."

    Louis Schreuder, who has also taken his minimal chances this season, returns at scrumhalf while the rest of the backline has a familiar look to it. 

    Fleck confirmed that he had tinkered with the idea of playing Cheslin Kolbe on the wing to allow Huw Jones - the back-up to Kolbe - some game time at full back. 

    With Robert du Preez, Jaco Taute and Etzebeth all returning, Fleck will have some even tougher calls to make as the tournament approaches its business end. 

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 13:55 (SA time). 

    Teams:

    Sunwolves

    15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (captain), 11 John Stewart, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 4 Timothy Bond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami

    Substitutes: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Mifiposeti Paea

    Stormers

    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kobus van Wyk, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes:16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Huw Jones

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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