There are three changes to the DHL Stormers starting line-up for their Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked encounter against the Phakisa Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.
Two of the changes are in the tight five and there is one injury-enforced change in the DHL Stormers backline for the first-ever match between these two teams, which kicks off at 19h00 on Friday at Mbombela Stadium.
Wing Edwill van der Merwe starts out wide in place of the injured Sergeal Petersen while up front lock Chris van Zyl gets a start in a rotational switch and loosehead prop Leon Lyons will earn his first DHL Stormers cap.
Lyons was named as a replacement last week but never got on the pitch against the Emirates Lions, with the experienced Steven Kitshoff playing the entire match at DHL Newlands.
Kitshoff and hooker Scarra Ntubeni have been isolated according to COVID-19 protocols after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
This means that prop Kwenzo Blose and hooker Chad Solomon are both among an extended list of replacements along with flank Jaco Coetzee, scrumhalf Godlen Masimla and utility back Tristan Leyds who all did not feature last week. The replacements bench will be finalised on Friday.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the trip to Nelspruit will be a good chance for his team to show what they learned from their opening match.
“We would like to see growth and improvement in certain areas of our game and an away game in Nelspruit will be a good test of that.
“We have some exciting players coming into the mix this week, so we are looking forward to seeing what they have to offer as we keep building,” he said.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Leon Lyons.
16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Michal Haznar, 24 Tim Swiel, 25 Tristan Leyds.