Cape Town - It has been a long road to recovery, but Jaco Taute is ready to make his return to the Stormers first team.
The 25-year-old has had a difficult time since his move to Cape Town from the Lions back in 2013, having been consistently plagued by injury since then.
Recovery from a career-threatening knee injury he picked up in 2013 has been the major stumbling block for Taute, but a groin problem also contributed towards him having a very limited role in last year's Super Rugby campaign.
The start of 2016 was supposed to be a fresh start for the four-Test Springbok, but injury struck again in pre-season when he damaged his ankle ligaments.
Now, eventually, Taute is fit and ready to go.
He will get his chance this weekend when he starts at fullback against the Rebels in place of Chelsin Kolbe, who has been lost to the Blitzboks for the rest of the competition.
"Obviously we knew that Cheslin was leaving us and with all the injuries we had we had to really dig deep and see who was around in the system," Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said from Melbourne this week.
"We know that we've got some good youngsters coming through the ranks ... the likes of Grant Hermanus and EW Viljoen. But with the young backline that we've got we were looking for some experience."
Taute made a name for himself as a fullback when he was the Lions, but both Allister Coetzee and Fleck have said that they consider centre to be his best position.
"Jaco has played Super Rugby before. Yes, it's been a while ... but certainly what this team needs right now is a bit of leadership and motivation and confidence coming from the senior players," said Fleck.
"The way that we've been training for the past two weeks we felt that Jaco's communication was key and essential to the group.
"When he came to us he came as a full back and he played some of his best rugby for the Lions as a fullback.
"He certainly has worked incredibly hard and he was looking good in the pre-season until his injury came. He's had to work incredibly hard to get back to where he is.
"He is one of those players who is prepared to get thrown in the deep end and fight his way out of a corner and he's the character that we're looking at for this type of tour."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 11:45.
15 Mike Harris, 14 Jonah Placid, 13 Sefa Naivalu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Colby Fainga’a 7 Sean McMahon (c) 6 Jordy Reid 5 Lopeti Timani 4 Luke Jones 3 Toby Smith 2 James Hanson 1 Cruze Ah Nau
Substitutes:16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Mitch Inman, 23 Paul Asquith
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Scott van Breda.