Cape Town – The Stormers have been bolstered by the return of Rynhardt Elstadt at flanker for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The side's coach, Allister Coetzee, has also opted to forego the usual rotation policy so that hooker Deon Fourie retains a starting berth ahead of Tiaan Liebenberg.
Elstadt, back from suspension, will pack down at blindside flank in place of Don Armand and Siya Kolisi returns to the openside for Tyrone Holmes.
Canadian international Jebb Sinclair has been promoted from the bench to No 8, while Holmes drops out of the match-day squad.
“This is the best loose trio available for this match,” Coetzee said on Wednesday.
“We are expecting an interesting clash at the breakdowns between Heinrich Brussouw and Deon Fourie.
“When we go about the breakdown play we must take the ref out of the equation and rather ensure greater accuracy on our part.”
Coetzee said Fourie was good in general play while the lineouts went particularly well.
“The scrums were not as accurate as it should have been but we feel we have identified the problem and have worked on it this week,” Coetzee said.
He said the flu outbreak in the squad had stabilised itself this week and some of the victims like Joe Pietersen, Bryan Habana and Juan de Jongh were fit to play on Saturday.
“We were able to select our first-choice backline but whatever backline we send out will be the best at the time,” he said.
“We just have to work with what's available.
“There will always be injuries, and when it strikes it will look like its not the best side on paper.”
The dreaded No 8 curse was close to striking again in the Stormers camp as it was touch-and-go for Sinclair, who picked up a calf strain against the Lions last week.
Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nock Koster are all on the injured list.
“Jebb didn't train today because he's nursing a calf strain,” Coetzee said.
“But he's fine and will be running flat out by Friday.”
Coetzee said he feared the Cheetahs had the ability to disturb his team's cohesion.
“They are a very good side and the opposition must be accurate otherwise they'll disturb your cohesion,” he said.
“We have to make sure that we give them nothing, and if we can do that, they won't be in the game.”
Stormers team: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Jebb Sinclair, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Deon Carstens, Quinn Roux, Don Armand, Louis Schreuder, Burton Francis, Gerhard van den Heever. – Sapa