Changes to backline comes down to handling the Sharks' kicking game, says Dobson
Stormers coach John Dobson says the changes to their backline for this weekend's clash comes down to handling the Sharks' kicking game.
The Sharks have been in fine form this season, and their turnover - and kicking game, their kick-chase as well, has been key to their success.
Damian Willemse will start at fullback the Stormers do battle at Kings Park on Saturday (kick off 3.05pm), while Jean-Luc du Plessis will start at flyhalf and Dillyn Leyds on the wing.
Sergeal Petersen moves to the bench for the fixture, and up front, Johan du Toit replaces his injured brother Pieter-Steph at blindside flank, with Ernst van Rhyn at No 6 in the place of Jaco Coetzee, who's been named on the bench.
In the second row, Salmaan Moerat and JD Schicklerling pair up, with Chris van Zyl providing cover off the bench.
In a rotational switch, Frans Malherbe returns to the starting lineup at tighthead prop in place of Wilco Louw.
"We know what the Sharks' kicking game is, they kick a lot, they kick high and they kick far. To get involved in that...territory is going to be important and to just have two right footers is tricky," Dobson said.
"The other reason would be to handle the contestables and a counter-attacking option.
"Also, Jean-Luc has done well whenever he's come off the bench. We've got a certain plan for this game which suhtits the way Jean-Luc plays.
"I say thanks to Damian and Dillyn who were prepared to move for the team. It's really around the kicking game.
"Dillyn is a superb fullback, he's doing uit for the team, so it was those kinds of conversations."
Dobson also explained his loose forward selections in Pieter-Steph du Toit's absence due to injury.
"Jaco is by no means the only guy who didn't work particularly hard against the Blues, we can't be seen to reward that. Jaco has had an outstanding season so far, he can change a game.
"Maybe he's not quite ready for 80 minutes, but he has a specific role to play this weekend.
"Ernst van Rhyn is really good at the breakdown, we went for Johan because he has a massive amount of speed and energy, and that's important given their kicking game, he's good with chase lines and that sort of thing.
"Ernst is a similar replacement for Pieter-Steph in terms of his work ethic. The other argument is that if you went for Trokkie and Jaco in the same team without Pieter-Steph, you could be under pressure in terms of the lineout. So it was a pretty important consideration."
Skipper Steven Kitshoff flagged the scrum aging vattle for this weekend as a key area.
"Me and Thomas come a long way, we know it's always a big clash. The same with Ox Nche on the other side with Frans Malherbe. We're really looking forward to it, it's going to be a challenging battle. We did out work this week.
"They've been winning games. This match is going to be for the top of the conference, so that's how we see it. It's really important for us to get that top spot."
Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (capt)
Replacvements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwezo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Sergeal Petersen.