Stormers load up on Springboks
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Stormers wasted no time in rushing back a number of Springboks for their Super Rugby showdown with the Blues at Newlands on Friday.
Springbok tight forwards Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit are all in the Stormers starting line-up.
Locks Etzebeth and Du Toit have both recovered from injury niggles, whilst tighthead prop Malherbe was rested against the Hurricanes before last week's bye as part of the Springbok management plan.
As a result, Wilco Louw and Jan de Klerk will feature off the replacements bench, with the only other change to the forward pack coming at loosehead prop where - Oliver Kebble switches with Alister Vermaak to claim the starting spot.
In the backline, Dillyn Leyds steps into the flyhalf role he performed in Wellington when Rob du Preez was forced from the field with a torn pectoral muscle and the fit-again Sevens star Seabelo Senatla takes his place out on the left wing.
Experienced centre Damian de Allende returns from an ankle injury to feature on the replacements bench alongside Brandon Thomson, who will provide flyhalf cover for the clash with the Auckland side.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that having a number of senior players back in the fold since returning from injury has been a big boost this week.
"It is great to have all of these players back in the mix and the players are determined to lift our game following the bye week," Fleck said.
"We have prepared well for this game and want to make the most of the opportunity to play in front of our fans at Newlands again," he added.
Stormers: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Alister Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Damian de Allende.
Date: Friday, May 19
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT; 05.00 NZ time, Saturday, May 20)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Shaun Veldsman