CAPE TOWN – Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the Stormers when they take on the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.
The 25-year-old, who captained the Stormers side against the Crusaders last week, will resume his regular role as vice-captain, with regular skipper Siya Kolisi back in the mix after being rested as part of the Bok management plan.
Kolisi will start at openside flanker at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, while Nizaam Carr will shift to No 8 with Pieter-Steph du Toit again starting at No 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Kobus van Dyk will provide loose forward cover on the bench.
In the tight five, Jan de Klerk will partner up with Etzebeth in the second row and Oli Kebble and Frans Malherbe will start on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi, while Wilco Louw and JC Janse van Rensburg will add bulk on the bench.
In the backline, scrumhalf Jano Vermaak returns to the run-on side to form the halfback pairing with Robert du Preez, while Dewaldt Duvenage moves to the bench.
The shoulder injury to inside centre Dan du Plessis sees Dan Kriel moving into the starting line-up at No 12 to form the midfield combination with EW Viljoen, and former Highlanders centre Shaun Treeby will make his Stormers debut when he comes off the bench against the former team.
Fullback SP Marais’ return from injury sees Dillyn Leydslback against the Crusadesrs, return to the left wing, while Bjorn Basson, who started on the wing last week, moves to the bench.
DHL Stormers team: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Shaun Treeby (Stormers debut), 23 Bjorn Basson.