Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has made four changes and a positional switch in the starting XV to face the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday.
There is just one injury-enforced change to the backline, with Kurt Coleman stepping up at flyhalf in the absence of Robert du Preez, who has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with a knee injury.
This means that the talented Jean-Luc du Plessis, son of former Springbok and WP wing Carel du Plessis, could make his Super Rugby debut if he comes off the bench to replace Coleman.
In the front row, props JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe get their first opportunity to start this season, with Oli Kebble and Vincent Koch taking their respective places on the replacements bench.
Siya Kolisi will also get his first start of the Super Rugby season, with Schalk Burger taking the No 8 jersey and Nizaam Carr moving to No 6 in place of Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who is set for an impact role off the bench.
Fleck said that he is excited to see what the new players in the starting line-up can add after all performing convincingly as replacements in the wins against the Bulls and Cheetahs.
“All of the players coming into the starting line-up have made an impact off the bench for us this season, and hopefully they can lay a good platform on Saturday,” Fleck told the Stormers’ official website.
Although disappointed about losing the services of Du Preez for the foreseeable future, Fleck said that he has been encouraged by Coleman’s performances off the bench this season, and is excited to see what Du Plessis can offer should he get the opportunity.
“Kurt showed his mettle to come on and help close out the game in Bloemfontein next week, so we are backing him to step up again. Jean-Luc is a talented player with a bright future and he deserves this opportunity,” he added.
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Huw Jones
15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, Tendai Mtawarira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 S’bura Sithole