JD Schickerling starts in the place of the experienced Chris van Zyl alongside Salmaan Moerat after playing off the bench last week
The breakdown will be key for the Stormers in their Super Rugby showdown against the Jaguares at Newlands tomorrow (3.05pm kick-off).
Stormers coach John Dobson has named his strongest-possible team for the much-anticipated clash, and the line-up features four changes to the side that beat the Lions at Ellis Park last week.
Among the backs, fit-again Herschel Jantjies returns at scrumhalf to form the halfback pairing with Damian Willemse, with Godlen Masimla, who started at No 9 last weekend in Jantjies’ absence, moving to the bench.
In the loose trio, Jaco Coetzee returns at No 6, with Pieter-Steph du Toit and Juarno Augustus again packing down at No 7 and 8 respectively.
In the second row, JD Schickerling starts in the place of the experienced Chris van Zyl alongside Salmaan Moerat after playing off the bench last week.
There is one change to the front row, with Frans Malherbe returning to the starting team at tight head in the place of Wilco Louw, who will make his 50th appearance for the Stormers when he comes off the bench.
The Stormers have welcomed Coetzee back at the perfect time. Given the challenge Dobson is expecting the South Americans to bring on the ground, Coetzee’s absence would have been sorely missed had he had to sit this one out as well.
The physicality and athletic calibre of World Player of the Year, Du Toit, and the gainline hunger of the abrasive Augustus will come in handy in the close quarters tomorrow. But given the threat the Stormers coach is expecting the Jaguares to pose at the breakdown, it’s the addition of Coetzee that will could prove particularly significant.
“The stats suggest that they had the quickest ruck ball across the 2019 season, and that is one thing we will still have to watch this Saturday. We have to take the space at the breakdowns and ultimately slow them down. We can’t let them build up momentum,” Dobson said. “We don’t have many players at the franchise who can fulfil that role in terms of playing to the ball.
“I’m sure that Jaco will have a big job to do in terms of taking the speed off the ball. That will aid our defence and our linespeed.”
The Stormers’ defence has been their biggest strength this season, and producing another big performance in the physicality department will go a long way against the Jaguares.
While the Argentines have experienced some tough times on the road in years gone by, Dobson believes the Stormers can’t go into this match expecting the away factor to influence the Jaguares.
“They haven’t traditionally been known as good travellers, but their results in New Zealand and Australia in recent years have been extraordinary, especially with this being the last year at Newlands. So I don’t think they’re poor travellers anymore,” Dobson said.
Stormers (15-1): Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Jamie Roberts, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Juarno Augustus, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Coetzee, JD Schickerling, Salmaan Moerat, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff (capt).
Bench: Chad Solomon, Ali Vermaak, Wilco Louw (50th Stormers cap), Chris van Zyl, Johan du Toit, Ernst van Rhyn, Godlen Masimla, Jean-Luc du Plessis.