Rassie Erasmus, head coach of the Vodacom Stormers, on Wednesday announced his team to play the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday 28 March. Kick-off is at 08h35 (SA time).
The Stormers website reports that Captain and centre Jean De Villiers will play his 50th game for the Stormers on Saturday.
The coach decided to move outside centre Gcobani Bobo to wing in place of the injured Nick Koster and start with De Villiers at outside centre and flyhalf Peter Grant at the captain’s inside. Veteran Willem de Waal remains in the flyhalf position, where he started in the games against the Bulls and the Lions.
Koster and Tonderai Chavhanga sustained injuries in the last game against the Lions and both are busy recovering at home. Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes is back from injury but Erasmus opted for veteran Springbok Percy Montgomery at fullback.
Jantjes has been included on the substitutes’ bench though.
Luke Watson is back at No 8 after starting the game against the Lions from the bench. Duane Vermeulen shifts to flank in place of Francois Louw, who reverts to the bench.
AJ Venter is, as expected, the new lock in place of the injured Andries Bekker, with Adriaan Fondse donning the number four jersey.
The promising Wicus Blaauw also retains his starting place at loosehead prop despite the fact that JD Moller is back from injury. The latter is among the reserves.
Another familiar face on the Stormers’ bench would be hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, who has been called back from France where he was playing club rugby. With second-choice hooker Deon Fourie ruled out through injury and Hanyani Shimange not available for the early part of the tour Liebenberg will be the substitute hooker on Saturday.
Former Bulls flank Hilton Lobberts is also one of the reserves and could be making his debut for the Stormers
The Vodacom Stormers team is as follows:
15. Percy Montgomery
14. Gcobani Bobo
13. Jean De Villiers (C)
12. Peter Grant
11. Sireli Naqelevuki
10. Willem De Waal
9. Ricky Januarie
8. Luke Watson
7 Duane Vermeulen
6. Schalk Burger
5. AJ Venter
4. Adriaan Fondse
3. Brian Mujati
2. Schalk Brits
1. Wicus Blaauw
16. Tiaan Liebenberg
17. JD Moller
18. Hilton Lobberts
19. Francois Louw
20. Dewaldt Duvenage
21. Dylan Des Fountain
22. Conrad Jantjes