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Malherbe back for the Stormers

Springbok tight head prop makes long awaited return

25 March 2022 - 13:29 By LIAM DEL CARME
Frans Malherbe is back in the Stormers team after a lengthy lay-off.
Frans Malherbe is back in the Stormers team after a lengthy lay-off.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Springbok tight head prop Frans Malherbe's return to the Stormers team is timely.

The Cape side will play arguably one of their toughest opponents yet in the United Rugby Championship (URC) when they clash with Ulster at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Ulster are second on the points table behind Leinster but have also won 10 of their 13 matches to date. The Stormers are seventh with six wins from 12 starts.

Malherbe, when fit, is the ballast of the Stormers pack and his return was met with a huge sense of relief from coach John Dobson.

Dobson had hoped Malherbe's immovable qualities at scrum time would be at the Stormers' disposal at the business end of the tournament.

It is fantastic to have a player of Frans’ proven quality back in the mix and everyone is really motivated to deliver our best possible performance against a quality outfit like Ulster,” he said.

Another hooker down

There are three other changes to the starting line-up. Scarra Ntubeni is the Stormers' latest casualty at hooker which means Chad Solomon gets a crack in the exulted company of Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff.

Ernst van Rhyn will start at blindside flank, while lock Adre Smith is available to take his place in the starting XV after he withdrew last week due to post-concussion symptoms.

In the backline Paul de Wet starts at scrumhalf in a rotational change with Herschel Jantjies.

The latter is one of just two backs on the bench but in replacement loose forward Hacjivah Dayimani the Stormers have a skilful and versatile operator.

Bigger crowd a boost

Dobson said the team is looking forward to playing in front of a bigger crowd.

The change in regulations has been a big boost for us this week and we are all excited to see more of our faithful supporters in the stands this weekend, which makes a big difference to the players.”

Stormers team to play Ulster: Warrick Gelant; Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas; Manie Libbok, Paul de Wet; Evan Roos, Ernst van Rhyn, Deon Fourie; Marvin Orie, Adre Smith; Frans Malherbe, Chad Solomon, Steven Kitshoff (captain). Substitutes: JJ Kotze, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Connor Evans, Hacjivah Dayimani, Junior Pokomela; Herschel Jantjies, Rikus Pretorius.

Kickoff: 3pm

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy). Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (SA), Dylen November (SA). TMO: Quinton Immelman (SA)


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