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Sun Apr 30 05:03:44 SAST 2017

Back to batter Kiwis

Craig Ray | 2017-04-21 08:47:51.0
STEP UP: The Stormers' Pieter-Steph du Toit is ready to play flank for the Cape Town side in Christchurch tomorrow in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi
Image by: Supplied

South African player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit will reprise the role of the Stormers' blindside flank against the Crusaders in Christchurch tomorrow .

Coach Robbie Fleck has opted to play the second rower out of position - a ploy that failed at Test level, most famously when the Springboks lost to Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup - in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi.

He is out of this match due to Springbok resting protocols .

Regular blindside flank Cobus Wiese, who has been impressive in his brief outings this season, is fit. But instead of starting the youngster, Fleck asked Du Toit to fulfil a role that he's familiar with, even if not entirely comfortable.

"With Siya out we needed a big ball carrier and with the set-piece threat the Crusaders bring.

"Pieter-Steph answers a few questions for us in that role," Fleck said from Auckland, where the Stormers are based.

"The Crusaders are a direct side and we struggled with momentum against the Lions last week, so hopefully Pieter-Steph can bring something.

"The Crusaders present certain threats and we need to counter them.

"We had a long selection meeting, but with Cobus coming back from injury we needed to get the balance of the loose trio right for this game and we think we have.



"Siya stayed behind in South Africa and spent a bit more time with his family. He will be in New Zealand on Saturday," Fleck said.

Meanwhile, the Lions have steeled themselves for another Super Rugby bone-cruncher against the Jaguares.

Last week they absorbed everything the fired-up Stormers threw at them at Newlands, but scrumhalf Ross Cronje was yesterday quick to remind that this was a reality teams have to deal with weekly.

"We have prepared for another tough physical battle," said Cronje of a Lions team that will start with a reshaped front row.

Stormers squad:

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport


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