Warrick Gelant is back in the Stormers' starting team for their return United Rugby Championship (URC) match against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Gelant, who has made his most recent appearances off the bench, much to the bewilderment of many of the team's supporters, will start with the most obvious consequence the reduced role for fellow Springbok backliner Damian Willemse, who will be on the bench.
Coach John Dobson was adamant this week that their selection plan had paid off as they returned unbeaten from trips to Loftus and Kings Park.
“We had a plan and we stuck to that plan. I made it clear before the first game we had a plan for the four derbies.
Calls for a start
“People say Warrick should have started. He started that game against the Lions (that ended in defeat). In what we asked Warrick to do the last two weeks he did absolutely brilliantly. That was the plan.”
Dobson was hoping to keep the changes to the minimum but they had to abandon hope of influential loose forward Evan Roos recovering in time from the rib injury he sustained last weekend.
Predictably Brok Harris is in the starting team at the expense of Sazi Sandi, who drops to the bench after a chastening experience at scrum time in Durban last week.
“Obviously the scrums,” said Dobson when asked about areas in which improvement is needed after their 22-all draw against the same opposition last week.
“There are one or two tactical adjustments. I can't speak too much about that. The way we stayed in the fight showed how much that game meant to us. We started that first half poorly.”
Not yet at home
As was the case again last week, hometown advantage seems to count for little in this match up. That fact becomes more troubling for this weekend's hosts when you consider the Stormers' poor record since moving to Cape Town Stadium.
“We haven't had great results here,” conceded the coach.
“We need to look more at performance. Against the Lions we were poor and in the Rainbow Cup both went after the hooter. We want to do better here in front of the fans. That is quite important to us.
“People may not appreciate, or maybe they do, this is a new stadium for us.
“Newlands had all sorts of ghosts and traditions. You could feel Newlands. It is going to take a little bit of time for us,” said Dobson.
Stormers to play the Sharks — Warrick Gelant; Angelo Davids, Ruhan Nel, Dan du Plessis, Seabelo Senatla; Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies; Hacjivah Dayimani, Ernst van Rhyn, Deon Fourie; Marvin Orie, Adre Smith; Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff (captain). Substitutes: Andre-Hugo Venter, Leon Lyons, Sazi Sandi, Ben-Jason Dixon, Marcel Theunissen, Nama Xaba; Paul de Wet, Damian Willemse.