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Lions will face a different Stormers team

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Stormers set to switch centres as part of wholesale changes to squad.

Pieter-Steph du Toit of the Stormers during the Stormers training session at Newlands Rugby Stadium in Cape Town on 20 April 2021. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

A NEW-LOOK Stormers team will take the field against the Lions in their Rainbow Cup SA clash at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow at 4pm.

Without captain Steven Kitshoff and fellow Springboks Damian Willemse and Frans Malherbe, who are rested as per request from SA Rugby, as well as Blitzbok Ruhan Nel, coach John Dobson is set to shake things up ahead of today’s team announcement.

Props Ali Vermaak and Neethling Fouché are a shoo-in to replace the two Bok props, while scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who is a doubt because of illness, could be replaced by Godlen Masimla.

Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

What they do in terms of leadership remains to be seen with Pieter-Steph du Toit an option as captain, while they could also bring in loose forward Ernst van Rhyn off the bench to skipper the side.

Tim Swiel is expected to start at flyhalf again, but it’s outside of him where things get interesting.

Dobson explained earlier in the week: “Rikus [Pretorius] and Dan [du Plessis] will start this week [in the absence of Nel] and might swap around.”

Both Pretorius and Du Plessis are natural inside centres, with the former playing in this position the last time they teamed up – in the win over the Lions at Ellis Park.

Despite scoring two tries in that match, Du Plessis was then dropped for Nel the following week and now looks set to get a shot in his preferred position.

In another change to the backline, Sergeal Petersen will come in at fullback for Willemse.

Dobson revealed that he is their only option in this position, saying: “Sergeal is a strong candidate in a field of one.

“Tristan [Leyds is] following Covid 19 protocols after some issues around that in the Free State/ Invitational game [two weeks ago].”