Dewaldt Duvenhage has replaced Ricky Januarie in the Stormers’ starting line-up named to face the Hurricanes.
A series of sub-standard performances has seen the axe fall on the Springbok scrumhalf. To date, Duvenhage has brought more to the Stormers from an attacking perspective and this may be why Rassie Erasmus has given the youngster an extended opportunity.
But when speaking to keo.co.za, Erasmus said a number of this weekend’s selections are down to player rotation.
‘We’ve been wanting to make a few changes since round three or four but because of a few results and the bye that hasn’t been possible. We beat the Lions but then we had a break, so we didn’t want to change much and risk losing momentum.
‘We then played and lost three close games so were reluctant to make changes again. But at this point, we thought it necessary to give a few of the other guys a chance.’
Erasmus said Januarie is a valuable member of the squad but Duvenhage’s strengths will be suited to this particular clash.
‘He’s particularly good with clearing the ball from the ruck and has a good kicking game. He’s played well off the bench and deserves this opportunity.’
Erasmus has made a few changes to the pack with Hilton Lobberts coming into the second row. Tiaan Liebenberg replaces Schalk Brits at hooker while Brian Mujati has been bracketed with Wicus Blaauw at tighthead due to a head injury. If Mujati is cleared of concussion on Friday, he will start.
Brok Harris, who returns from a pre-season leg injury, is named on the bench but will only feature if he passes a late fitness test. Bok lock Andries Bekker joined the squad on Sunday but has not cracked the match 22.
‘Brok’s arriving soon and will hopefully train with us on Thursday. We want to see how he will slot in at the scrums and at the lineout before making any final calls. Brian’s availability will also impact on our use of Brok at the weekend.
‘Having a guy like Tiaan in the mix will help, as scrumming is one of his strengths. With all the injuries we need a player like Tiaan to aid the tighthead,’ said Erasmus.
Stormers – 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (c), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenhage, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Adriaan Fondse, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Brian Mujati/ Wicus Blaauw, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Brok Harris, 18 AJ Venter, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem De Waal, 22 Dylan Des Fountain.
By Jon Cardinelli