Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and a number of his national teammates will play their first match of 2019 on Friday when the Stormers take on Boland in their final Super Rugby warm-up clash in Wellington.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck announced a powerful starting line-up in what may resemble the team that will run out at Loftus Versfeld for the Super Rugby opener against the Bulls on February 16.
Apart from skipper Kolisi, other big names that will feature at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday (5.45pm kickoff) include front row Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe, as well as loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit, flyhalf Damian Willemse and centre Damian de Allende.
Additional national team members in the starting XV are No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe and wing JJ Engelbrecht, as well as Bok tourists Ruhan Nel and JD Schickerling.
With Eben Etzebeth still sidelined with a foot injury, Fleck has opted to give flank Cobus Wiese a chance at No 4 lock alongside Schickerling, after Salmaan Moerat operated as the front lock against the Bulls.
An interesting selection is Craig Barry at fullback, with Dillyn Leyds not part of the 28-man squad after starting at No 15 in the SuperHero Sunday clash against the Bulls last weekend.
Du Plessis cousins Jean-Luc (flyhalf) and Dan (centre) are on the bench.
“Boland are always highly motivated to play us in Wellington, so we are looking forward to pushing ourselves,” Fleck said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We have got a number of players coming in after a pre-season conditioning phase, so it will be important for us to gel as a unit, and get as much as we possibly can out of this game.”
The Faithful were out in force on #SuperHeroSunday. What an incredible celebration of everything South African rugby has to offer in support of a worthy cause. #iamastormer #TheFaithful #thormers pic.twitter.com/oGHwWhGjZz— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) February 6, 2019
15 Craig Barry, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Kobus van Dyk, 23 Herschel Jantjies, 24 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 25 Josh Stander, 26 Dan du Plessis, 27 Dan Kriel, 28 Nico Leonard.@ashfakmohamed