Stormers forced to change ... again
Stormers forced to change ... againSHARE
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has named a much-changed line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby encounter against the Reds at Newlands.
The Stormers suffered a spate of injuries on their recently-completed four-match tour of Australasia, with five players from last week's line-up – against the Rebels – missing because of injury this weekend.
Centre Juan de Jongh (fractured finger), flank-cum-hooker Deon Fourie (ribs), lock Andries Bekker (back), as well as props Frans Malherbe and Pat Cilliers (both ankles) are the injury-victims from Melbourne.
A sixth player, hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni, withdrew from last week's match at the 11th hour with a hamstring injury and is still not available for selection.
Fourie, Ntubeni and De Jongh should all be back on deck after the June Test break – along with lock De Kock Steenkamp, who left the tour early with a chest injury.
However, Bekker, Malherbe and Cilliers will be out for some time.
As a result of these injuries, Damian de Allende (inside centre), Don Armand (No.7 flank), Gerbrandt Grobler (No.4 lock), Brok Harris (tighthead prop) and Tiaan Liebenberg (hooker) all come into the starting XV this week.
In other changes, skipper Jean de Villiers will move from inside centre to outside centre, Siya Kolisi shifts across from No.7 to No.6 and Eben Etzebeth will call the line-outs in the absence of Bekker in the No.5 shirt.
De Allende will make his first start since the Stormers' 22-15 win over the Sharks on April 13, Armand and Harris will make their first starts of 2013, Grobler will make his first-ever Super Rugby start and Liebenberg (having recovered from an elbow injury) is back in the mix for the first time since March 23 (against the Brumbies).
On the bench, meanwhile, prop Chris Heiberg and flank Rohan Kitshoff – both Western Province Vodacom Cup stars – await their Super Rugby debuts for the Stormers.
Lock Marius Coetzer – another new face in the selection frame this week – has played five Super Rugby games for the Lions, but will be on debut for the Stormers.
"We've been hit really hard by injuries, but we're looking forward to [new] players bringing in new energy this weekend," said Stormers boss Allister Coetzee.
"As a coach you make do with what you have and remain positive about the [next] fixture, but the reality is that we're currently sitting with 15 players that are unavailable.
"Having said that, I'm excited about the new players in our team – all of whom have a chance to lay down a marker and all of whom brought plenty of energy and enthusiasm to training this week."
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Don Armand, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)