Stormers understrength for Sunwolves
The DHL Stormers will be travelling to Singapore to play the Sunwolves in their fourth Vodacom Super Rugby match of the season on Saturday without their Springboks and with several other players sidelined with injury.
The Stormers had to fight back just to draw when they played the Japanese team at the same venue last year so there is no question of them underestimating the Sunwolves as they go out in quest of what would be their fourth win in four starts in their campaign thus far.
However, they do have to rest their Boks at some stage, which is why Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Malherbe weren’t considered for selection.
Of course, two more Boks in the form of Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh are also out injured, as are a host of regular first choice players such as Huw Jones, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Jano Vermaak and Cheslin Kolbe.
Leolin Zas and Scarra Ntubeni were ruled out before the start of the season. Fullback SP Marais and No 8 Nizaam Carr are being rested.
However, captain Siya Kolisi is back to lead the squad in the National Stadium clash after sitting out the last match against the Southern Kings.
And also back is Dan Kriel, which makes for an interesting choice for coach Robbie Fleck when he chooses his midfield.
Kriel played inside centre against the Jaguares but Dan du Plessis, who is also in the travelling squad, was good there against the Kings.
With the two Springbok locks out, young Cobus Wiese has been called up called up for what could potentially be a first Super Rugby appearance, while Jan de Klerk is also part of the group.
JD Schickerling returns from injury to be part of the squad for the first time since the competition kick-off at the end of February.
Schickerling was injured in the final warm-up game against the Lions, with Wiese proving most impressive as a replacement in the second half.
Damian Willemse, last year’s SA Schools flyhalf, will get another opportunity to get game time and to gain some invaluable touring experience after his impressive cameo against the Kings as a replacement.
Robert du Preez should continue as the flyhalf in the absence of the injured Du Plessis but Kurt Coleman is there to provide cover, as is Willemse, though the last mentioned is more likely to cover Dillyn Leyds at fullback.
Leyds of course is normally a wing but he has played fullback and with Marais being rested he is the obvious choice to play at the back, particularly with Kolbe on the injured list.
There are 25 players on the plane to Singapore, so two will miss out. With four locks in the group, it would appear one of them could find himself sitting out, though there is also a strong possibility that young Wiese will get to play in a position he is well accustomed to, that being blindside flank.
That would necessitate a switch to openside for skipper Kolisi - if Wiese is starting.
Scrumhalf Godlen Masimla comes into the squad for the first time this season for Justin Philips.
A highly promising youngster, Philips was tried against the Kings and played well, but this selection is about giving both back-up scrumhalves an opportunity in the continued absence of first choice scrumhalf Vermaak.
DHL STORMERS TOURING SQUAD: Bjorn Basson, Kurt Coleman, Jan de Klerk, Dan du Plessis, Robert du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Rynhardt Elstadt, JC Janse van Resnburg, Oli Kebble, Siya Kolisi, Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Godlen Masimla, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Frans van Wyk, Chris van Zyl, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse.