Grant changes for struggling Stormers
Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:27
Peter Grant will start at fullback in a revamped backline for the Stormers who face the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers reclaims the captain's armband from Duane Vermeulen and will line up at inside centre, with Damian de Allende shifting back to the right wing - in place of the injured Kobus van Wyk.
It is the last-placed Stormers' second all-South African encounter of the season - their only other derby match having been a 10-34 loss to the Lions in Week Two.
In other changes amongst the backs this week Nic Groom (No.9) and Demetri Catrakilis (No.10) return to form a new-look halfback combination for the Stormers, and Jaco Taute dropping down to the bench.
The Stormers pack remains unchanged from their previous clash - against the Waratahs in Cape Town two weeks ago - but there are a number of additions amongst the replacements.
Joining Taute on the bench this week are fit-again prop Pat Cilliers and lock Jurie van Vuuren - replacing the injured pair of Oliver Kebble and Mthetheleli Fuzani, respectively.
Wing Devon Williams, the top try-scorer in the 2014 Vodacom Cup, comes into a Super Rugby matchday squad for the first time in his fledgling career.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said that playing Grant at fullback gives dead-eye goal-kicker Catrakilis a chance to start, and added that Grant's experience will be important considering the aerial assault they are expecting from the Lions.
"Demetri's kicking record speaks for itself and I think Peter Grant has been off duty in Japan, especially with his kicking. He had a bit of an ankle injury so he is admittedly not as confident with his goal-kicking.
"Obviously it is also a tactical plan to have Peter at 15, we know what is coming and hopefully the tactical plan can work," he said.
Coetzee said that he is confident that Grant has what it takes to excel at fullback, despite some people's reservations about his suitability to the position.
"He has played 15 in Japan and most of his Maties days, although it was a couple of years ago, but he has played there before and I have no doubt about his composure at the back and his physicality there and obviously his kicking game.
"A lot of people might say that he is not one of the quickest guys but you can judge yourself. Peter has got timing, so coming in at first receiver in broken play, especially in the middle of the field would be an important thing for Peter to take control of," he said.
The Stormers coach said that it is a relief to welcome players back from injury for a change, although the likes of Schalk Burger, Cheslin Kolbe and Scarra Ntubeni remain on the injured list.
"It's obviously great to welcome back Jean de Villiers this week, but so too Pat Cilliers and Jurie van Vuuren from injury," commented Coetzee.
"Jurie is part of a youthful bench, four of whom were still playing Under-21 last season and two who are still eligible for the WP U21 team this year.
"We have never been afraid to give young players a chance at the Stormers and it's always an exciting time when someone is on the verge of making his debut as is the case with Devon."
The Stormers went down 10-34 to the Lions back in February and looking ahead to the return encounter Coetzee said: "We know that the Lions are a quality side, as they showed against us in Johannesburg earlier this season.
"We were poor at managing the Lions' contestable kicking game at Ellis Park and our line-out also didn't function well enough. It's a different venue, here at sea level, but we really have to ensure that our set-piece fires."
Stormers: 15 Peter Grant, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Devon Williams, 23 Jaco Taute.
Date: Saturday, April 19
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa) Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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