The DHL Stormers are on the road and first up is the quality Hurricanes side in Wellington.
History will show that South African teams have not done well on tour but the Stormers will want to change that this season. They did not manage to win any matches away from Newlands last year.
The Hurricanes have been one of the quality sides in New Zealand for a number of years but Robbie Fleck men will be happy to see that the Hurricanes have rested two All Blacks and made a number of changes to their side.
Laumape and TJ Perenara will be missing the Stormers match this weekend. Dane Coles also have to take a rest this week according to All Blacks arrangement in keeping their top players fresh throughout the year.
Plumtree made five more changes to his side that draw against the Chiefs last week.
They will have their playmaker Beauden Barrett leading the side this weekend while his boet Jordie will play next to him in the midfield.
Riccitelli will start in place of Coles with O’Reilly to cover in the bench.
Judd comes in for Perenara and upfront Armstring and May starting in the front row.
Savea will move back to the side of the scrum with Prinsep taking over the number eight jumper.
The Stormers made three changes for this match, two in the pack and one in the backs.
Springbok Bongi Mbonambi is back at hooker and at lock Chris van Zyl will partner Etzebeth. JD Schickerling will play off the bench.
Coach Robbie Fleck has also given Ruhan Nel another crack in the midfield with Dan Du Plessis moving to the bench.
DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team will be going all-out to make a positive start to their tour.
“Our first week in New Zealand has been a good one and we are hoping to build on the momentum we have created.
“We know this will be a big challenge on the road, but it is one we are excited about as a group,” he said.
Interesting facts (By: Opta)
- The Hurricanes have won their last two games on the bounce against the Stormers in Super Rugby after having won just one of their seven meetings prior (L6).
- The Hurricanes have won 24 of their last 25 Super Rugby games on home soil, including their last 12 on the bounce; they’ve not lost at home to a South African squad since April 2013 (Stormers)
- The Stormers have lost their last eight consecutive Super Rugby games outside South Africa, conceding an average of 40 points per game in that spread.
- The Stormers boast the best tackle success rate (87%) of any team in the competition this season.
- Wes Goosen (Hurricanes) has made an average gain of 11.5m per carry this season, the highest of any player to have made at least 10 carries
Prediction: With so many changes in Hurricanes side the gamblers can go with Stormers, but we still pick Hurricanes by 9
Hurricanes: Chase Tiatia, Wes Goosen, Matt Proctor, Jordie Barrett, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, Richard Judd, Reed Prinsep, Ardie Savea, Vaea Fifita, Liam Mitchell, James Blackwell, Ben May, Ricky Riccitelli, Fraser Armstrong.
Replacements: James O’Reilly, Xavier Numia, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Isaia Walker-Leawere. Sam Henwood, Finlay Christie, Fletcher Smith, Danny Toala.
DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Dan du Plessis, 23 Damian Willemse.
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