Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers will lead the Stormers in their season-opener against the Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday.
Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers will lead the Stormers in their season-opener against the Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday, with deputy Schalk Burger lining up in the number seven jersey.
Burger will pack down in an all-Springbok loose trio – alongside Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen – whilst three starting players will be on Super Rugby debut, with a further two debutants on the bench for the Stormers.
Former WP age-group star Kobus van Wyk has been rewarded for his outstanding pre-season form with a place on the wing and Michael van der Spuy will partner Jean de Villiers at centre in the absence of injured Bok midfielder Juan de Jongh.
Argentine lock Manuel Carizza will spearhead the Stormers' line-out in his first taste of Super Rugby action, whilst fly-half Demetri Catrakilis will make his first Super Rugby appearance for the Stormers – despite being a Currie Cup regular.
On the bench, meanwhile, Oliver Kebble will provide prop cover and fellow young gun Ryno Eksteen (recently named in the SA Under-20 training squad) will serve as the additional outside back – both players also being on Super Rugby debut.
“The Lions showed over the weekend that in Vodacom Super Rugby any team can beat any (other) team,” said Stormers boss Allister Coetzee.
“They were great at the breakdowns and their coach has an attacking mindset which worked wonders for the team in last season's Absa Currie Cup competition.
“We also won't lose sight of the fact that the match will be on the Highveld and the Lions have a reputation for pulling out all the stops in the final 20 minutes.”
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Ryno Eksteen.
Date: Saturday, February 22
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kickoff: 19:10 (local, 17:10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: tbc, Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)