Nizaam Carr is back in the Stormers starting line-up for Saturday’s showdown with the Lions. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Stormers captain Siya Kolisi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Nizaam Carr will run out as the starting loose trio against the Lions in a team that coach Robbie Fleck believes owns the underdog tag.

Carr, who featured from the bench in the Stormers’ last two wins against the Cheetahs and the Chiefs, comes in at No 6 in the place of Cobus Wiese, who sustained a shoulder injury in the Stormers’ 34-26 victory over the Chiefs, while Notshe and Kolisi retain their spots at No 8 and No 7 respectively.

Johan du Toit, the younger brother of Pieter-Steph du Toit, is in line to make his Super Rugby debut if he comes off the bench against the Lions at Newlands, and Fleck added that the hard-working loosie is also a lineout option.

In the pack, Pieter-Steph du Toit returns at lock after struggling with a swollen knee, while Frans Malherbe rotates with Wilco Louw at tighthead prop.

In the backline, form scrumhalf Jano Vermaak returns after being sidelined with a concussion last week, with Godlen Masimla getting an opportunity to show his worth as the replacement scrumhalf off the bench.

It’s hard to decide who the underdog is this weekend given the Stormers’ results and performances so far this season, while the Lions, who are favoured by history, haven’t been having too bad a run this year either.

But Fleck says that their Johannesburg-based opponents definitely can’t claim that tag.

“I don’t see how they get the underdog tag, they were Super Rugby finalists last year and they’re playing exceptional rugby again. Nothing’s changed,” Fleck said.

“We haven’t had much fortune against them in the last two years or so, so they have the upper hand there.”

Fleck also added that it wasn’t too hard to get his players to focus after their massive win over the Kiwis last week, and said that it was straight back to business on Monday to prepare for another tough encounter.

“The players have worked hard again this week, and we know that we will have to be as sharp as ever if we are to maintain our winning momentum,” he said.

The Stormers coach also added that the support at home last week was huge.

“The support we got last week at Newlands was simply phenomenal, and we would love to see people turn out in their numbers to support us again.”

Teams For Newlands

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Bench: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.

Bench: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Referee: Jaco Peyper. Kickoff: 5.15pm.