With all three their Springbok captains, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit either rested or back in South Africa, Springbok loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff will captain the Stormers for the first time against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
Kitshoff takes over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi, who is being rested for the final match of the Stormers’ Australasian tour which kicks off at 11:45 SA time on Friday. Du Toit (the birth of his first child) and Etzebeth (injured) have returned to South Africa..
Up front, only lock Cobus Wiese and loose forwards Jaco Coetzee and Kobus van Dyk of last week’s starting team retain their starting places.
The experienced Kitshoff will be in an all-Bok front row alongside hooker Bongi Mbonambi and tighthead prop Wilco Louw, with the latter two returning to the starting line-up.
At lock Salmaan Moerat and Wiese form a new lock partnership and Johan du Toit is on the bench.
Ernst van Rhyn will make his Stormers debut at openside flank in place of Kolisi, with Van Dyk and Coetzee in the run-on team again.
In the only change to the backline scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies returns to the starting line-up, while wing Seabelo Senatla is set to make his first appearance of the season from the replacements bench.
♦ Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is determined to end their tour on a high in Melbourne on Friday.
“Our focus this week is on being as accurate as possible in everything that we do in order to make the most of our opportunities.
“The players have worked hard again this week as we look to end our tour on a high note,” he said.
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla.