Stormers coach Alister Coetzee has selected what looks like his strongest available side for Saturday’s warm-up against the Bulls in Polokwane. Schalk Burger will start at blindside flank in a loose trio that has no room for Currie Cup captain Deon Fourie.
The loss of Cheslin Kolbe to injury has revealed just how thin the Stormers are at wing, with Damian de Allende and Kobus van Wyk – both regular centres – named to start on either side of Gio Aplon. Juan de Jongh is back in favour and partners captain Jean de Villiers in midfield, while Bok tourist Louis Schreuder, unsurprisingly, is the man chosen to play alongside Demetri Catrakilis at halfback.
Duane Vermeulen and Siya Kolisi complete an all-Bok back row with Burger, while the interesting front-row selection sees Scarra Ntubeni picked ahead of Tiaan Liebenberg. Young Ruan Botha, whose exploits for the Baby Boks back in 2012 marked him as a definite player for the future, starts in the number 5 shirt alongside Rynhardt Elstadt, an indication that the Stormers, like so many other South African teams, will need to back youth in the second row in 2014.
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs (from): Tiaan Liebenberg, Oli Kebble, Justin Ackerman, Jean Kleyn, Michael Rhodes, Nizaam Carr, Nic Groom, Gary van Aswegen, Scott van Breda, Ryno Eksteen, Deon Fourie.