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Stormers ready for scrum-skirmish

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“With the Bulls game, we need to be more secure and we need to be able to handle that.”

The Stormers definitely suffered a massive blow when captain Siya Kolisi was ruled out last week, but the loose trio John Dobson has named for their clash against the Bulls is far from a makeshift one.

Dobson made two injury-enforced changes to his starting pack for their second Super Rugby game of the season. In the loose trio, Johan du Toit comes in at No 8 in the place of Kolisi, who was ruled out for at least six- to eight weeks after suffering a grade three medial collateral ligament tear (knee) in their opener against the Hurricanes last weekend.

Hooker Scarra Ntubeni is the other change up front and will pack down alongside Springbok props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff. Bongi Mbonambi, who started against the New Zealanders, will be out of action for four- to six weeks.

On the bench, fit-again Cobus Wiese offers second-row back-up, with David Meihuizen dropping out of the match day squad. Juarno Augustus also makes his return among the replacements, while Chad Solomon gets his first opportunity of the new season.

Dobson has opted for a six-two split again, with Godlen Masimla and Jean-Luc du Plessis the two backs on the bench.

Augustus’ return gives the Stormers another option at the back of the scrum this season. The 22-year-old has had a stop-start run thanks to injury.

On his loose forward combination, Dobson said: “We feel Jaco (Coetzee, who started at No 6 last week as well) is better in the middle of the field, he’s devastating with his carries and line-breaks in the middle. He’s the player that plays to the ball more naturally.

“Johan has played at seven, but his natural position is at eight. To me Jaco is a six, so it’s a well-balanced trio. Trokkie (Augustus) is going to come on at eight, that’s where his future is, he’s going to have a massive future there.

“Cobus is covering lock.”

Earlier this week, Dobson said that he was expecting a much bigger challenge at the scrum than last week, while he also touched on the threat of Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn. That Bulls scrummaging threat has been made bigger by the inclusion of Bok prop Trevor Nyakane, who played off the bench last week against the Sharks.

“The scrum is going to be a big battle, Morné is obviously going to try and gain territory and we expect them to try and lure us into a kicking game, and that’s what we planned around.

“With the Bulls game, we need to be more secure and we need to be able to handle that.”

Stormers (15-1): Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Jamie Roberts, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Johan du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Coetzee, Chris van Zyl, Salmaan Moerat, Frans Malherbe (100th Stormers cap), Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff (captain). Bench: Chad Solomon, Ali Vermaak, Wilco Louw, Cobus Wiese, Ernst van Rhyn, Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Jean-Luc du Plessis.