CAPE TOWN: Damian Willemse will make his first start for the Stormers when he runs out at flyhalf against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 3.05 pm).
In a new-look team to the one that suffered a 22-10 defeat to the Sharks in Durban before the international Test break, Willemse will partner up with the experienced Jano Vermaak in a team that will be led by tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, as both regular skipper Siya Kolisi and vice-captain Eben Etzebeth are being rested this week.
Up front, looshead prop JC Janse van Rensburg returns from injury to pack down alongside Malherbe and hooker Ramone Samuels, who will make his first start of the season for the Stormers. Bongi Mbonambi and Wilco Louw will provide front-row cover on the bench, while Steven loosehead Kitshoff could make his first appearance for the Stormers since 2015.
Chris van Zyl will pair up with Pieter-Steph du Toit in the second row in the absence of Etzebeth, while in the loose trio, Rynhardt Elstadt returns from injury to link up with Kobus van Dyk and Nizaam Carr in the back row.
In midfield, Kiwi centre Shaun Treeby will partner with Juan de Jongh, while EW Viljoen will feature from the bench for the first time this season.
Dillyn Leyds (vice-captain) and Cheslin Kolbe will start at left and right wing respectively, and SP Marais will complete the outside backs at No 15.
15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds (vice-captain), 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynhardt E;stadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 EW Viljoen, 23 Seabelo Senatla.