HomeSportRugbyNumerous changes for Stormers

Numerous changes for Stormers

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PERTH — The return to South Africa of injured players has prompted a number of changes to the DHL Stormers team that will face the Western Force in their final Vodacom Super Rugby tour match in Perth today.

In all there are five changes to the starting team, one of them positional, from the one that beat the Reds 23-13 in Brisbane last week. The positional change is effectively just a switch of numbers as Andries Bekker returns in place of the injured Eben Etzebeth, who wasn’t able to prove his fitness in sufficient time to be considered for the game.

To cover for Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp moves from the No 5 lock position to No 4, with Bekker now taking over the captaincy from Duane Vermeulen, who has returned home to South Africa to have a knee ligament injury assessed.

In the only unforced change to the side, and the only other change to the tight five, Brok Harris drops out to give Frans Malherbe an opportunity to start at tighthead.

Injured Springbok wing Gio Aplon makes way for Danie Poolman in what is a straight swop. This will be Poolman’s first Super Rugby start of the season, but he did play all eight of the games in the first half of last year’s competition and is a solid allround player who should not let the team down.

The team differs quite substantially now from the one that started the tour against the Highlanders on Easter Saturday, but coach Allister Coetzee’s message from Perth was a positive one.

“Despite the injuries and some enforced changes, the touring group is in high spirits and is very motivated,” said Coetzee.

“Our motto for the week is: Nothing special has ever been achieved in ideal conditions. A win this week will be the difference between a good tour and a great one and this group knows that. We have picked a strong side, our training sessions this week have been excellent and we will be going all out for victory.”

DHL Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Gerhard van den Heever, Bryan Habana, Juan de Jongh, Danie Poolman, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker (captain), De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, Don Armand, Deon Fourie, Louis Schreuder, Burton Francis, JP du Plessis.

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