Koster unleashed on Boland

Nineteen-year old Nick Koster and Tongan Sevens star Alipate Fatafehi will start on the wings when a Stormers side tackle Boland this Saturday.

Both men had precious few opportunities when introduced in the final quarter against Saracens, and so coach Rassie Erasmus has opted to give them a full go in Wellington. Dylan des Fountain is also handed a start alongside Morgan Newman while halfbacks Joe Pietersen and Dewaldt Duvenhage replace Peter Grant and Ricky Januarie.

“We want to give Alipate as much game time as possible and give him an opportunity to get used to our structures,” Erasmus told keo.co.za. “Nick also needs match practice as I believe he can do well at this level.

“We had a look at who is coming back from injury and who needs game time when picking the side. After half-time we should make most of the changes as it will give guys like Bobes and Jean another opportunity ahead of the Sharks game [on 14 February].”

Luke Watson and JD Moller are the only forwards retained after last week’s win against Saracens, with AJ Venter leading the team from the lock position. Pieter Louw and Boetie Brits join Watson in the back row, while George Earle, Deon Fourie and a fit-again Brian Mujati are included in the tight-five.

“We hope Brian will get as much game time as possible, hopefully somewhere between 60 and 80 minutes. George Earle has come though well, and I still think AJ is an excellent player. We also have Hilton and I think we have some great back-up in the second row.

“Pieter Louw has been pushing hard in training, and if there is a serious injury, I have no doubt he’ll step up to the mark.”

Schalk Burger and Conrad Jantjes were not considered because of injury, but should be back for the opening game against the Sharks.

“We’d like to have 30 of our best guys fit for that game, so there’s no point pushing [Burger and Jantjes] now. Schalk had a minor procedure on his ankle where a cut was made and it opened up. He should be ready to play the Sharks.”

Erasmus also confirmed tighthead Brok Harris will only be back for the Stormers’ tour of Australasia, while JC Kritzinger is still undergoing tests. His recovery is expected anytime between seven days and three weeks.

Stormers – 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Nick Koster, 13 Dylan des Fountain, 12 Morgan Newman, 11 Alipate Fatafehi, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenhage, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Pieter Louw, 6 Boetie Brits, 5 AJ Venter, 4 George Earle, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Schalk Ferreira, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Adriaan Fondse, 21 Andries Bekker, 22 Duane Vermeulen, 23 Bolla Conradie, 24 Ricky Januarie, 25 Peter Grant, 26 Jean de Villiers, 27 Gcobani Bobo, 28 Tonderai Chavhanga, 29 Sireli Naqelevuki.