Stormers desperate to make it five out five win against the Blues
Stormers coach John Dobson has made two rotational changes to the tight five for their match against the Blues at Newlands tomorrow (kick-off 3.05pm).
In the front row, Wilco Louw comes in for fellow Bok tighthead Frans Malherbe, who rotates to the bench. With Alistair Vermaak injured, Kwenzo Blose is set to make his Stormers debut if he comes off the bench.
At lock, Chris van Zyl returns to the run-on side, with Salmaan Moerat, who started last week, moving to the bench.
Among the replacements, Cobus Wiese comes in for Johan du Toit, who drops out of the match day squad.
The Stormers are favourites going into their Round Five clash against the Blues, and with good reason.
There's been a lot of talk about John Dobson's Springbok-healthy Super Rugby squad, and after winning the World Cup, it wouldn't be any other way.
Sure, that World Cup aura adds a lot in terms of the quality of the personnel, of course, and the confidence in the group, but on the flip side, it certainly also adds pressure and expectation, and nobody can say the Stormers haven't handled that well until now. They've handled it so well that they find themselves at the top of the combined log after four games.
But will they make it five?
Earlier this week, Dobson spoke about how "unusual" the Blues can be, saying that figuring out the likes of the Hurricanes and the Jaguares' shapes is easy - both opponents the Stormers have beaten in 2020 - as opposed to the Blues'. He also spoke about how they can be physical yet off the cuff as well, while he also hinted that he's expecting a niggly affair.
And that's going to be a factor.
During the team announcement press conference, captain Steven Kitshoff said that making it five wins in a row would be the first step in moving closer to the goals they've set out for themselves this season.
"The amount of effort the guys have put in is actually paying off and it's an incredible feeling. These first five games are phase one and making it five out of five would be the first step in achieving our goal," Kitshoff said.
In terms of making it five out of five...well, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking 'there's no way the Stormers are going to lose this game'. Why would they?
But with the Blues being more than capable of being disruptive, composure is going to be key, not just to maximize their own performance, but also to deny the New Zealanders any opportunity to capitalise on their mistakes.
After all, the list of examples of the Blues being 'niggly' isn't too short a one...
Starting XV: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (capt)
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose (Stormers debut), 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Ernst van Rhyn, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.@WynonaLouw