Coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting line-up for the DHL Stormers’ first match of their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby tour.
The DHL Stormers will take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 08h35 SA time) without injured forwards, lock Rynhardt Elstadt and flanker Siya Kolisi, with the fit-again De Kock Steenkamp and Schalk Burger replacing them up front.
Elstadt has been ruled out of the tour with a shoulder injury and will be out of action for four to six weeks, but Kolisi has been given this week off and will come back into the selection frame next weekend.
“Rynhardt will see his specialist when he returns back home to Cape Town,” Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com.
“It’s the same shoulder he had an operation on after last year, and the specialist here said it’s quite badly inflamed. He will be out of action for four to six weeks and, for that reason, we have called up Jurie van Vuuren, who was part of the DHL WP Under-21 last year and can, like Rynhardt, play at No.7 (flank) and No.4 (lock).
“We’re fortunate to be able to rest Siya (at loose forward), where we have more depth, so hopefully this week off will see his AC Joint in a better condition next week.”
Burger resumes the team vice-captaincy after missing last Friday’s nailbiting 19-18 win over the Hurricanes at DHL Newlands with a mild groin strain, whilst Steenkamp will make his first appearance of the season having also recovered from a groin injury of his own.
At scrumhalf, in an unforced change, Nic Groom will earn his first start of 2014, whilst the loss of Elstadt and Manuel Carizza – the latter with a wrist injury from the ‘Canes match – sees former DHL WP Under-21 lock Ruan Botha earn a place on the bench on debut. Michael Rhodes, after two appearances from the bench this season, will start in place of Elstadt in the No.4 jersey.
Louis Schreuder will join Botha on the bench this week, along with experienced flyhalf Peter Grant – who joined the team from Japan this week – and new wing signing Sailosi Tagicakibau, who joined the DHL Stormers from London Irish just a few days ago.
“Losi (Tagicakibau) has fitted in very well – in the changeroom after the Hurricanes match and in the gym this week,” said Coetzee. “We’re looking forward to him making an impact in our first full (training) session tomorrow and come Saturday against the Crusaders.
“It’s also good to have Peter Grant back,” added the DHL Stormers boss. “He’s hungry to play again, after missing the majority of last year’s campaign and having not played a lot in Japan. He’s a good team man and will slot in well as always given his experience and standing in our environment.”
The DHL Stormers team for Saturday (v the Crusaders) is as follows:
15. Jaco Taute
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Jean de Villiers (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Gio Aplon
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Schalk Burger (vice-captain)
6. Deon Fourie
5. De Kock Steenkamp
4. Michael Rhodes
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Tiaan Liebenberg
17. Oliver Kebble
18. Pat Cilliers
19. Ruan Botha
20. Nizaam Carr
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Peter Grant
23. Sailosi Tagicakibau
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)