Etzebeth back in Stormers starting lineup for Jaguares
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has beefed up his pack as best he can for Saturday’s crunch encounter against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Bok hard man Eben Etzebeth returns to the starting lineup for the first time in a month while there are also recalls for hooker Bongi Mbonambi‚ tighthead Wilco Louw and flank Jaco Coetzee in the pack.
Cobus Wiese‚ who started at lock over the past two weekends‚ moves to blindside flank in place of the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit.
It’s a switch that puts Wiese in the position Fleck wanted to utilise him in on the Stormers’ Australasian tour‚ before injuries ruined that idea.
There is only one change in the backline where inside centre Dan Kriel starts with the in-form Damian de Allende dropping to the bench.
Bok looseforward Sikhumbuzo Notshe also makes his return from injury and is expected to make an impact from the replacements bench‚ along with utility forward Johan du Toit.
Fleck said that his team would leave nothing out on the pitch in Buenos Aires. The SA Conference‚ which includes the Jaguares‚ sees only four points separate first to last.
The Jaguares and Stormers are locked together on 23 points.
The Stormers will be looking for their second Super Rugby win against the Jaguares this season after their impressive 35-8 win at Newlands in round three.
The Jaguares have a good record against South African opposition in Argentina – they have won 10 of their 15 home matches against teams from the Republic‚ which includes a 25-14 victory over the Stormers in Buenos Aires last year‚ their only win over the men from Cape Town in five attempts.
The Stormers scored a close but morale-boosting 24-23 home win over the Bulls in the previous round and aim build on that performance against an in-form Jaguares side that have won their last three matches.
“With a bye coming up next week we want to do everything we can to get another win on the road‚” Fleck said.
“We are excited about what this combination can achieve and will be looking to execute as accurately as possible while putting in maximum effort.”
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse‚ 14 Sergeal Petersen‚ 13 JJ Engelbrecht‚ 12 Dan Kriel‚ 11 Dillyn Leyds‚ 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis‚ 9 Herschel Jantjies‚ 8 Kobus van Dyk‚ 7 Cobus Wiese‚ 6 Jaco Coetzee ‚ 5 JD Schickerling‚ 4 Eben Etzebeth‚ 3 Wilco Louw‚ 2 Bongi Mbonambi‚ 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Reserves: 16 Scarra Ntubeni‚ 17 Corne Fourie‚ 18 Neethling Fouche‚ 19 Johan du Toit‚ 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 21 Justin Phillips‚ 22 Damian de Allende‚ 23 Seabelo Senatla.