Stormers coach Robbie Fleck announced his side on Thursday afternoon to face the Cheetahs in their second Super Rugby clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
Fleck decided to largely to show faith in his charges who opened their campaign with a decisive 33-9 win over the Bulls at Newlands last weekend while scoring the only three tries of the match.
There’s only one change to the backline with rightwing Kobus van Wyk ruled out with an ankle injury which he picked up late in the Bulls game after which he was replaced by the youngster Leolin Zas who made his Super Rugby debut after he replaced Van Wyk.
Even though Van Wyk’s injury is regarded as not serious Fleck didn’t want to risk him if he is not 100 percent fit which allows Zas to earn his first start at this level.
Centre Juan de Jongh will again wear the captain’s armband with his co-captain and prop Frans Malherbe once again starting off the bench from where he and fellow benched prop JC Janse van Rensburg delivered such a powerful scrum performance in the second half of last weekend’s clash against the Bulls.
Despite have a slight ankle injury scare against the Bulls last weekend, fiery Bok lock Eben Etzebeth has been passed fit and will start in the second row alongside his fellow Bok Pieter-Steph du Toit, with the young and promising JD Schickerling providing the impact from the bench like last week when he replaced Du Toit to ignite that last powerful rolling maul try by hooker Scarra Ntubeni.
The Stormers have lost their last three matches in Bloemfontein and will be eager to end their drought which stretches back to 2012 when they produced a hard-fought 13-6 win over the Cheetahs.
The Free Staters are still looking for their first win after they lost their opening clash last weekend against the Jaguares from Argentina 34-33 after the Cheetahs lead earlier 24-3 and 24-17 at the break.
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-capt), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Bench: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-capt), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.