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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Cobus Wiese © Gallo Images

Stormers make wholesale changes for Reds

The DHL Stormers will go into the third match of their Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australasia with seven changes from the side that lost to the Blues in Auckland last weekend.

Most of the changes to the team that will face the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Friday come in the back, with a combination of the need to freshen up the players, injury and family matters back home prompting the changes.

Two star Springboks in the form of Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit have had to fly home, Etzebeth with injury and Du Toit to be at the birth of his child. Their places in the second row and on the blindside flank respectively are taken by Cobus Wiese and Kobus van Dyk. Wiese could conceivably have worn the No 7, but his driving presence might be even more useful at lock, and he appears a better like for like replacement for Etzebeth than Salmaan Moerat would be.

Moerat comes in on the bench, an indication that the Stormers do still boast some depth in that position even though they effectively have three players who can play lock back home - JD Schickerling was forced to fly home earlier in the tour.

Frans Malherbe returns at tighthead prop for the injured Wilco Louw, and of course as a starting Bok he should not weaken the team. Neither should the return of Scarra Ntubeni at hooker, even though Bongi Mbonambi, who plays off the bench this time, is a Springbok too. Steven Kitshoff has been benched, so the Stormers will have a strong group of replacements who could shift the tempo of the game later in the piece.

Corne Fourie, formerly of the Lions, will be making his first Super Rugby start for the Stormers, while Micheal Kumbirai, who has played well for Western Province in the Currie Cup, will make his Stormers debut if he gets onto the field. The front row is completely changed from the unit that took the field last week.

There are two changes to the backline, with Ruhan Nel coming in at outside centre for the injured Dan du Plessis, while Justin Philips takes scrumhalf in what looks like a rotation with Herschel Jantjies, who will play off the bench.

The rotation selections would have been planned by coach Robbie Fleck at the start of the tour but the Reds game has become a must win for the Cape squad after two defeats and there will be a lot of pressure on the newcomers to perform.

But Fleck is confident his new-look side can do the job.

“We’ve had a good week of preparations here and the players are looking forward to the opportunity,” said Fleck.

DHL STORMERS TEAM: Damian Willemse, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Justin Philips, Jaco Coetzee, Kobus van Dyk, Siya Kolisi (captain), Chris van Zyl, Cobus Wiese, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Corne Fourie. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Michael Kumbirai, Salmaan Moerat, Juarno Augustus, Herschel Jantjies, Joshua Stander, SP Marais.


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