The DHL Stormers have made just one change to their starting line-up for Saturday’s final Vodacom Super Rugby league match of 2014 – against the Sharks at DHL Newlands (kick-off 19h10).
The only change to the starting XV that beat the Bulls by 16-0 last Saturday sees Springbok Tiaan Liebenberg take over the No.2 jersey from the injured Deon Fourie.
Fourie has not recovered from the hamstring injury which forced him off the field against the Bulls and his unavailability sees young Stephan Coetzee come on to the bench as replacement hooker.
Coetzee, of course, started at hooker when the DHL Stormers and Sharks last met – on May 31 – so he is no stranger to this level of rugby, having already played six matches this season.
Schalk Burger will again lead the team from the No.7 jersey, before he leaves for Japan until the start of the 2015 Super Rugby tournament, whilst right-wing Gio Aplon, himself back to full fitness after a long lay-off with an elbow injury, will make his last appearance for the DHL Stormers before taking up a contract with French club Grenoble.
The DHL Stormers are on something of a hot streak at present, after four victories in succession – including an away win over the selfsame Sharks at the end of May – and having not tasted defeat since May 10.
Looking ahead to Saturday, however, coach Allister Coetzee warned against any form of complacency against a hungry Sharks team searching for a big victory and, with it, a top-two finish on the overall Super Rugby log.
“We need to focus on ourselves, and not (on) the Sharks,” Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com.
“The important thing for us is to pitch up like we have the past few weeks – like we did against the Bulls (last week) – and to show that same kind of intensity.
“Like I said at the start of last week, these last two games are very important for us – but this last one is probably the most important one because that is where you leave your last impressions.
“We definitely would like to end the 2014 season on a high. If we don’t get the result it will be a bit of a setback (for us).”
Match tickets are still available for Saturday – standing tickets are priced at just R50 each, with seating places ranging from R80 to R130.
Tickets are available from PostNet outlets nationwide, selected Spar stores in the Western Cape or online from wprugby.ticketpros.co.za.
The DHL Stormers team for Saturday (v the Sharks) is as follows:
15. Jaco Taute
14. Gio Aplon
13. Sailosi Tagicakibau
12. Juan de Jongh
11. Cheslin Kolbe
10. Kurt Coleman
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Schalk Burger (captain)
6. Nizaam Carr
5. Ruan Botha
4. Michael Rhodes
3. Pat Cilliers
2. Tiaan Liebenberg
1. Alistair Vermaak
16. Stephan Coetzee
17. Sti Sithole
18. Martin Dreyer
19. Manuel Carizza
20. Siya Kolisi
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Peter Grant
23. Seabelo Senatla
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)