The Stormers have made their intentions clear with the selection of Josh Stander at flyhalf for Saturday’s Super Rugby blockbuster against the Crusaders at Newlands.
Stander gets a rare start in the No 10 jersey ahead of both Jean-Luc du Plessis and Damian Willemse.
Coach Robbie Fleck retained Willemse at fullback when naming his team on Thursday, with Du Plessis on the bench.
The Cape outfit also received a triple Springbok boost, with captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende all back in the starting XV from the team that lost 30-25 to the Jaguares in Argentina a fortnight ago.
Seabelo Senatla will start in place of the injured Sergeal Petersen at right wing, but he is unlikely to get much ball.
Stander has a big boot, and his selection shows that the Stormers are likely to play for territory and try to force penalties, much like the Sharks did against the Crusaders in a 21-21 draw in Christchurch two weeks ago.
With Kolisi and Du Toit coming back, Jaco Coetzee has been shifted to No 8, with Cobus Wiese moving to No 5 lock as JD Schickerling is sidelined with a hand injury.
“We have a good home record, and this is another great opportunity for us to perform in front of our supporters,” Fleck said in a statement.
Set the alarm! It’s a 3.15am game early Sunday morning for fans back home as we take on the @THESTORMERS on Saturday night in South Africa. Here’s our team for the first clash on their turf since 2013 #STOvCRU pic.twitter.com/7UukUpi3Jg
— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) May 16, 2019
“We have put the hard work in on the training pitch, and we want to ensure we are focused on Saturday so that we can be as accurate as possible.”
Knowing that the visitors will be backed by the ‘Cape Crusaders’ at Newlands (5.15pm kickoff), Kolisi added: “We know that we will get great support from the Newlands faithful, and will do everything we can to get the win for them.”
Teams For Newlands
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse 14 Seabelo Senatla 13 JJ Engelbrecht 12 Damian de Allende 11 Dillyn Leyds 10 Josh Stander 9 Herschel Jantjies 8 Jaco Coetzee 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Cobus Wiese 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Wilco Louw 2 Bongi Mbonambi 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: 16 Scarra Ntubeni 17 Corné Fourie 18 Frans Malherbe 19 Kobus van Dyk 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 21 Justin Phillips 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis 23 Dan Kriel
Crusaders: 15 David Havili 14 Sevu Reece 13 Jack Goodhue 12 Ryan Crotty 11 George Bridge 10 Richie Mo’unga 9 Bryn Hall 8 Kieran Read 7 Matt Todd 6 Ethan Blackadder 5 Sam Whitelock (captain) 4 Scott Barrett 3 Michael Alaalatoa 2 Codie Taylor 1 George Bower.
Bench: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitch Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.