Rhodes makes Stormers debut


Coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to the DHL Stormers team to take on the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday (kick-off 17h05).

Of the five changes, one is positional, and two are injury-enforced after last week’s 14-19 defeat to the Crusaders; with Steven Kitshoff, Michael Rhodes, Nic Groom and Jaco Taute all coming into the starting XV.

Kitshoff is back from his one-game suspension, whilst Rhodes and Taute replace Rynhardt Elstadt (shoulder) and Gerhard van den Heever (knee), respectively. Taute will line up at fullback, with Joe Pietersen shifting to the right-wing.

Rhodes will make his DHL Stormers debut in the No.7 jersey, having played for the Western Province Vodacom Cup team in recent weeks.

Two other members of the WP Vodacom Cup team have also been elevated to the Stormers squad ahead of Saturday, with lock Gerbrandt Grobler (on debut) and flyhalf Gary van Aswegen starting from the bench.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Stormers boss Coetzee said: “We’ve seen how well the Crusaders did their homework and we know that we can expect the same from the Cheetahs.

“This week we’ll have to show improvement in all facets of the game if we want to do well against the Cheetahs. It’s never easy in Bloemfontein, it’s going to be a tough (South African) derby… but we need to focus on our game.”

The DHL Stormers team to take on the Cheetahs is as follows:

15. Jaco Taute

14. Joe Pietersen

13. Juan de Jongh

12. Jean de Villiers (captain)

11. Gio Aplon

10. Elton Jantjies

9. Nic Groom

8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain)

7. Michael Rhodes**

6. Siya Kolisi

5. Andries Bekker*

4. De Kock Steenkamp

3. Frans Malherbe

2. Deon Fourie

1. Steven Kitshoff


16. Martin Bezuidenhout

17. Pat Cilliers

18. Gerbrandt Grobler**

19. Nizaam Carr

20. Louis Schreuder

21. Gary van Aswegen

22. Damian de Allende

Referee: Stuart Berry

* Lock Andries Bekker will play in his 100th match for the DHL Stormers – making him the first Stormers player to reach this landmark for the franchise.

** On debut for the DHL Stormers.

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  1. Hope Ryan Smit is back for the Fun Bunch. Burt Francis was a shooting star last weekend & don’t really want to see them double-down.
    The entire world will be watching The “Vatican of SA Rugby” – Cheetah stadium – to see if the home side can eeek this one out

  2. Reply to Americano @ 3:48 pm:

    Blueblood Smit is out for another 2 weeks I believe. I really hope we play Hansie Graaf on the bench. He is Willies understudy in the magic department and a true prospect.

    Also kicked the winning goal from 55m out to beat selfsame Stormers in warm-up earlier this year.

  3. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:17 pm:

    Same here – i would love to see the cheetahs in the play-offs
    Bulls and cheetahs best placed so far with Sharks still in it if they can beat the Saders this weekend.
    Stormers will have to win a lot of games overseas if they want a sniff…

  4. YOC – how come Smit is a “Blueblood”?
    Is it due to his Beatle’s type hairdo?

    JT –
    I’m gonna not comment very much regarding Stormers v Cheetahs @ Vatican City Field this Saturday.
    I also root on the Stormers & I know you guys secretly pine for Cheetahs glory so I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.

    I’ll restrict all comments to how well Messerschmitt Willie LeRoux is & how he’s “the one that got away” from Stormers setup. Seriously – they way that dude would change Stormers is ridiculous.

    That said – when they play Bulls – I’m going “all in”, Don’t think the FunBunch have ever beaten the Rolls Royce franchise known as Zee Bulls.