Stormers' new recruit Leiua on URC debut in exciting midfield combo with Mngomezulu

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Alapati Leiua. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Alapati Leiua. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

The Stormers' new recruit Alapati Leiua will start at outside centre in an exciting partnership with Sacha Mngomezulu when the Cape side takes on Zebre in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday.

It will be Leiua's debut for the Stormers after joining the URC champions last month.

Mngomezulu's elevation to the starting line-up means Damian Willemse will start the game at fullback, while flyhalf Manie Libbok will have a new halfback partner in Herschel Jantjies this weekend.

Head coach John Dobson has made several changes to the side that beat Edinburgh 34-18 last week, including shifting Marvin Orie - last weekend's captain - to the bench. Salmaan Moerat will take over the captaincy and will partner Adre Smith in the lock stocks.

Junior Pokomela, Willie Engelbrecht and Evan Roos will make up the backrow. 

Dobson will be able to call on the services of Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen, Paul de Wet and Dan du Plessis who are part of the bench.

"This is a team full of potential, just looking at some of the combinations we have out there," said Dobson.

"It is fantastic to have someone of Salmaan's stature to step in as captain and we are excited to see what the likes of Alapati, Sacha, Willie and Herschel can do as they all make their first starts of the campaign.

"We know it will be tough against a competitive Zebre side away from home, but preparations have gone well and we are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

Kick-off is at 16:00 on Saturday.

Stormers team:

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Sacha Mngomezulu, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Adre Smith, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Dan du Plessis

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