Stormers keep changes to the minimum
Cape side need to win to secure home quarterfinal
As you'd expect from a team determined to secure a home quarterfinal, the Stormers kept their changes to the minimum for their last United Rugby Championship (URC) pool match on Saturday against Scarlets in Llanelli.
Lock Salmaan Moerat and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer are the new starters for the clash the Stormers have to win if they want to cement their place in the top four and earn a home quarterfinal.
Moerat, whose season has been beset by injury, makes a welcome return to the starting team just in time for the business end of the competition. His bulk and industry may yet be important elements in the Stormer's surge for a place in the final.
Ungerer, too, will get valuable game time before more pressing engagements next month.
The bench features Ernst van Rhyn, Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen, Godlen Masimla and Cornel Smit, who all featured in recent Currie Cup action.
Hitting the road
Though the Stormers delivered splendid performances on home soil to play themselves back into URC contention, they will have to prove they can win far away from home.
“We have had a great run of wins at home and this week is a chance to show what we can do up here,” said coach John Dobson.
“The players understand what is required against a Scarlets team that will also be highly motivated. We will need full focus and execution to get the result we need.”
The Lions, meanwhile, have a new-look midfield pairing in Matt More and Henco van Wyk before the team's final URC match of the season against the Dragons in Newport on Saturday.
In the absence of Burger Odendaal, who was left behind, the team will be captained by lock Reinhard Nothnagel.
Looking to the future
“As mentioned last week, it gives us an opportunity as a franchise to cast our eye to the future and we believe this group will form part of that core,” said coach Ivan van Rooyen.
“There will be a few guys in the match 23 who will be relishing the opportunity to make a name for themselves against international opposition.
“In saying that, Dragons will be a tough outfit to play at a vibrant Rodney Parade. We've planned and trained well this week, so the guys will be up for it on Saturday.”
Stormers to play Scarlets — Warrick Gelant; Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas; Manie Libbok, Stefan Ungerer; Evan Roos, Hacjivah Dayimani, Deon Fourie; Marvin Orie, Salmaan Moerat; Frans Malherbe, JJ Kotze, Steven Kitshoff (captain). Substitutes: Andre-Hugo Venter, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen; Godlen Masimla, Cornel Smit.
Lions to play Dragons — Quan Horn; Stean Pienaar, Henco van Wyk, Matt More, Edwill van der Merwe; Jordan Hendrikse, Morne van den Berg; Francke Horn, Vincent Tshituka, Sibusiso Sangweni; Reinhard Nothnagel (captain), Ruan Venter; Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Visagie, JP Smith. Substitutes: PJ Botha, Sti Sithole, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Ruben Schoeman, Jarod Cairns; Andre Warner, Manuel Rass, Tiaan Swanepoel.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.