Lock Eben Etzebeth will captain the DHL Stormers for the first time in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Etzebeth will lead the side at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi who is being rested for this match.
There are two changes in the front row, with props Oli Kebble and Frans Malherbe making their first starts of the season on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi.
Kolisi’s place at flank is taken by Sikhumbuzo Notshe, with Nizaam Carr back in the starting line-up at No.8.
In the backline Dewaldt Duvenage will form a halfback partnership with Robert du Preez, with Jano Vermaak and Jean-Luc du Plessis ruled out through injury.
Centre Dan du Plessis will make his first appearance of the season in place of the injured Dan Kriel, whilst out wide Cheslin Kolbe’s ankle injury means that Bjorn Basson will make his DHL Stormers debut.There are also three potential Vodacom Super Rugby debutants on the replacements bench, with loose forward Jaco Coetzee, scrumhalf Justin Phillips and utility back Damian Willemse all in line to earn their first DHL Stormers cap.
DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is focused on building on the two victories that they have earned this season.
“This will be our first away game of the campaign after two good wins at DHL Newlands and we would like to see further improvements in our game this weekend.
“We always get great support as a team in Port Elizabeth, so we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday,” he said.
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson (DHL Stormers debut), 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris Van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee (Vodacom Super Rugby debut), 21 Justin Phillips (Vodacom Super Rugby debut), 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse (Vodacom Super Rugby debut).