The Stormers will have a more rounded backline for Saturday’s virtual Super Rugby playoff against the Sharks at Newlands, with Seabelo Senatla and Damian de Allende back in the mix.
Senatla sat out last week’s 31-18 win over the Sunwolves with concussion, but bolsters a back division that were unable to finish a number of try-scoring opportunities in order to gain a bonus point last week.
His one-on-one clash with Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi is sure to be one of the highlights on Saturday (3.05pm kickoff).
They will also be given greater direction on attack and defence by De Allende, who has been a handful when carrying the ball and has added some subtle touches such as chip kicks to his overall bag of tricks.
There are two new faces at halfback as well, with Josh Stander coming in for Jean-Luc du Plessis, and Jano Vermaak at No 9 for the injured Herschel Jantjies.
Justin Phillips will be the back-up scrumhalf on the bench, and Scarra Ntubeni is also fit again and will be the reserve hooker.
Stander’s selection is an indicator that the Stormers will kick more, despite the Sharks having a number of lethal attacking forces such as Aphelele Fassi, Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi, although Curwin Bosch is out injured.
“We have performed well at home this season and this is another opportunity for us to use that to our advantage,” coach Robbie Fleck said on Thursday.
“The key in a match like this will be to remain composed and accurate while operating at high intensity. It should be a great game to watch.”
15 Dillyn Leyds 14 Seabelo Senatla 13 JJ Engelbrecht 12 Damian de Allende 11 Edwill van der Merwe 10 Josh Stander 9 Jano Vermaak 8 Jaco Coetzee 7 Johan du Toit 6 Ernst van Rhyn 5 Chris van Zyl 4 Cobus Wiese 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Bench: 16 Scarra Ntubeni 17 Corné Fourie 18 Wilco Louw 19 David Meihuizen 20 Chris Massyn 21 Justin Phillips 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis 23 Dan Kriel.@ashfakmohamed