CAPE TOWN – The Stormers will be without captain Siya Kolisi and senior Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit, but can call on Eben Etzebeth for Saturday’s big SA derby against the Lions at Ellis Park (5.15pm kickoff).
Both Kolisi (knee) and Du Toit (shoulder) picked up knocks during last week’s 34-22 victory over the Highlanders at Newlands.
Bok skipper Kolisi did not come out for the second half, while Du Toit soldiered on despite receiving treatment a number of times during the match.
Coach Robbie Fleck has had to make a third enforced change to the team on Thursday, with loose forward Kobus van Dyk also missing out on the Johannesburg trip with a knee problem.
So, that means a new-look loose trio, with Springbok Sikhumbuzo Notshe making a welcome start at No 8 after impressing off the bench.
Jaco Coetzee shifts to openside flank, and Johan du Toit – younger brother of Pieter-Steph – slots in at blindside.
With Etzebeth having recovered from a bout of flu that ruled him out on the day of the Highlanders match, the hard-working Cobus Wiese gets a breather.
One further new face in the pack of forwards sees Wilco Louw come in at tighthead prop in a rotation move, with Frans Malherbe among the reserves.
Steven Kitshoff will take over the captaincy from Kolisi.
The backline remains the same.
“We want to keep building on our performances every week, and this is another great opportunity for us to show what we are capable of,” Fleck said.
“The focus has been to assemble a playing group that is primed and ready both physically and mentally for what we will face on Saturday.
“There is no doubting the motivation within the group.”
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Marno Redelinghuys, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel.@ashfakmohamed