Vermeulen will lead the team from his regular No.8 position in the absence of Schalk Burger who has not recovered from the knock to his neck which he sustained in last weekend’s emphatic 33-0 win over the Cheetahs.
In other changes from last week, Sailosi Tagicakibau will start in the No.11 jersey, with Siya Kolisi starting in the No.7 shirt in the absence of Burger. Cheslin Kolbe, meanwhile, shifts across to the No.14 jersey in place of Kobus van Wyk who is out of action for three weeks with a wrist injury.
Argentine lock Manuel Carizza returns to the fray for the first time since the end of February, having recovered from a wrist injury, whilst flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is back in the mix for the first time since July.
Both Carizza and Catrakilis have been named on the bench, where they will be joined by debutant loosehead prop Sti Sithole, who replaces Oli Kebble.
Kebble has been ruled out of action for at least eight weeks with an ankle (syndesmosis) injury, handing Sithole (an SA Under-20 starting player last year) a great opportunity to stake his Super Rugby claim.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “Unfortunately Oli has joined our long injury list and he will miss the remainder of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
“It’s a blow for us, and the player himself, but at least we’ve been able to welcome back Manuel and Demetri and, of course, Sti is on the verge of his making his debut at this level which is always an exciting moment for any young player.
“It’s been a tough week, with many of our players being in Durban and some injury worries with Schalk and Oli, but we’ve been able to name a team ahead of the weekend. It’s a young team, but it’s a side with plenty of enthusiasm and attitude.
“The Sharks are not the current Vodacom Super Rugby log-leaders for nothing,” added Coetzee. “They’ve grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed and their win over the Crusaders in Christchurch says a lot about their character and state of mind.
“They’re a physical side who are strong at the breakdown and who boast a good kicking game. This is, without doubt, our biggest challenge of the year.”
The DHL Stormers team for Saturday (v the Sharks) is as follows:
15. Jaco Taute
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Juan de Jongh
12. Damian de Allende
11. Sailosi Tagicakibau
10. Kurt Coleman
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Siya Kolisi
6. Nizaam Carr
5. Ruan Botha
4. Michael Rhodes
3. Pat Cilliers
2. Deon Fourie
1. Alistair Vermaak
16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Sti Sithole (On Super Rugby debut for the DHL Stormers)
18. Martin Dreyer
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Manuel Carizza
21. Dylon Frylinck
22. Demetri Catrakilis
23. Peter Grant
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)