Elstadt, Sinclair bolster Stormers pack

Rynhardt Elstadt will start at blindside flank while Jebb Sinclair has been preferred at No 8 for the Stormers’ next match against the Cheetahs.

Elstadt’s return from suspension sees Don Armand dropping to the bench. Siya Kolisi moves back to openside flank as a result of Sinclair coming into the starting team.

The Stormers are hoping to get special dispensation from Sanzar to include in Sinclair in the play-offs. At present, he does not qualify for the knockout matches.

Coach Allister Coetzee said on Wednesday that the Stormers are waiting on a response. For the moment they will prepare as if Sinclair will be available for a possible semi-final and final.

‘I’m confident that the team we’ve picked is the strongest available,’ said Coetzee. ‘We will wait and see what happens with Jebb now, but we are hoping he will be available.’

Sinclair didn’t train with the team on Wednesday because of a calf strain, but Coetzee said the injury is not serious and that the Canadian should be fine by Saturday. If Sinclair doesn’t recover in time, Kolisi will move back to No 8.

‘It will be great to have players like Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger and Nick Koster returning, but at the moment we have to plan ahead. We want Jebb to play at No 8 and Siya will also cover for that position.’

Steven Kitshoff is brought into the starting line-up after being rested for the Lions game. Kitshoff started 12 of the Stormers’ 13 matches before the break and also featured prominently in the Baby Boks’ Junior World Championship campaign. Fellow front-ranker Brok Harris broke his nose last week and so won’t travel to Bloemfontein with the squad.

Meanwhile, the backline welcomes back fullback Joe Pietersen and wing Bryan Habana, who both missed last week’s clash because of flu. Gio Aplon will start at No 14.

Lock Eben Etzebeth is expected back at training next week after missing the Lions and Cheetahs games with an ankle injury.

Stormers – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Quinn Roux, 19 Don Armand, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

By Jon Cardinelli