Cape Town – Injuries to Ruan Botha and Kobus van Wyk have forced the Stormers to field yet another new lock pairing as well as a backline combination in the side to play the Reds in Saturday’s Super Rugby match in Brisbane.
Lock Botha has not recovered from an ankle injury and has been replaced by Jurie van Vuuren, who was playing Varsity Cup rugby for the Maties last year. After several impressive outings for the WP Vodacom Cup side he graduated to the Stormers’ training group a few weeks ago.
He will partner Michael Rhodes in what will be the sixth lock combination for the Stormers this season.
Winger Van Wyk is nursing a knee injury and Damian de Allende takes his place, with Juan de Jongh moving off the bench to midfield alongside Jean deVilliers.
Sailosi Tagicakibau retains his place on the left wing in a new-look backline.
Fullback Jaco Taute has shrugged off a shoulder injury but has been consigned to the substitutes' bench.
Speaking from Brisbane on Wednesday, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said he was confident in the team’s ability despite having to make seven changes to the side which suffered a third tour defeat last week.
“Jurie van Vuuren has settled in well since his arrival a few days ago and, along with reserve Sikhumbuzo Notshe, they have brought lots of energy to the team,” said Coetzee.
He said Van Vuuren and Rhodes would be tested as they face the Wallaby lock pairing of James Horwill and Rob Simmons.
“Last week the Brumbies tested us out wide but this week the Reds will bring the x-factor and our backline will have to deal with it.
“The Reds’ halfback combination of Quade Cooper and Will Genia are key to their gameplan and since they are both experienced Test players we’ll need to shut them down. They are good at creating opportunities for players around them and our halfbacks will be challenged when the Reds are on attack.”
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers said he was pleased to be playing at inside centre again.
“With Juan and Damian on my outside, we can vary our play quite a bit,” he said.
“Despite three tour defeats, our attack has improved although we haven’t reaped the rewards. With each game we’ve been forced to field new combinations and the changes haven’t helped us to ensure we get first-phase possession.
“I can’t fault the commitment of the players on tour because they have all rallied to produce a winning result. We’ve come close but, with minutes to go, lots of mistakes have crept into our game because we haven’t responded to pressure.”
The Stormers squad: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Sailosi Tagicakibau, Peter Grant, Louis Schreuder, Duane Vermuelen, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Jurie van Vuuren, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Stefan Coetzee, Oli Kebble, Brok Harris, Godfrey Fuzani, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Demetri Catrakilis, Jaco Taute. – Sapa