Stormers Super rugby head coach John Dobson has made two changes to his forward pack for this Saturday’s match against the Blues at Newlands.
The two changes are in the tight five as tighthead prop Wilco Louw and lock Chris van Zyl both come into the starting line-up, with Frans Malherbe and Salmaan Moerat among the replacements.
There are two further changes to the replacements bench, with prop Kwenzo Blose set to make his Stormers debut when he comes on and utility forward Cobus Wiese back in the matchday squad.
Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is looking forward to a blockbuster clash at Newlands.
“This game has all the makings of a classic South African-New Zealand battle, in front of the Newlands Faithful.
“With our bye coming up next week we are going to pour absolutely everything into getting the result and making it five consecutive wins.
“We have made some rotational changes up front, but otherwise we have managed to keep some good continuity as we look to keep building and raising our standards,” he said.
Blues Super rugby head coach Leon Macdonald has included TJ Faiane and All Black Rieko Ioane in the midfield of the team to play the unbeaten Stormers in Cape Town.
The pair has 85 caps for the Blues between them, with Faiane returning to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in last week’s win over the Bulls, while Ioane has made a speedy recovery from a fractured hand to form an exciting midfield combination.
It is the only significant change from the team that played strongly in Pretoria last weekend, with England international Joe Marchant making his fifth straight start, but moving to the right wing, while Sam Nock gets his first start with Jonathan Ruru to come off the bench.
The only change in the pack sees Kurt Eklund get his second start at hooker with James Parsons returning to New Zealand with a shoulder injury, with exciting North Harbour prospect, Luteru Tolai coming into the reserves as a replacement.
There is a strong look to the bench, which made a real impact last week, with All Black Ofa Tuungafasi, newcomer Aaron Carroll and the experience of Blake Gibson, Matt Duffie, Harry Plummer and Marcel Renata.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said the side, largely unchanged from last week, need to produce another 80-minute performance against the strong Stormers combination.
“They are unbeaten this season and pose threats across the park. We need to concentrate on our core roles, securing set phase and winning the battle at the breakdown,” said MacDonald.
“We were patient last week and stuck to our game plan which was crucial. Clearly we need to be more disciplined because we can’t play for 20 minutes with one player short like last week.
“We have had a good week in preparation at altitude and hope we can reap some rewards for that coming backdown to sea-level at Cape Town.”
The Stormers have played the Blues 20 times in Super rugby since 1998 and the Stormers have won 10 matches and lost 10 matches.
The Stormers 10 wins out of 20 matches gives them a record of winning 50% of their matches against the Blues regardless of venue.
This weekend the match will be played in Cape Town, which is home for the Stormers and the city where the teams have met 10 times.
In those 10 matches played in Cape Town, the Stormers have won 6 matches and lost 4. This gives the Stormers a record of winning 60% of their matches against the Blues at home.
The average score when the Stormers play the Blues in Cape Town is : Stormers 24 Blues 23.
The Stormers have won the last five matches against the Blues in Cape Town and the Blues have not won in the city since 2009.
Average score: Stormers 24 Blues 25
Last five results
Sat, 30 Mar 2019 Stormers 09-24 Blues @Auckland
Sat, 17 Mar 2018 Stormers 37-20 Blues @Cape Town
Fri, 19 May 2017 Stormers 30-22 Blues @Cape Town
Sat, 21 Feb 2015 Stormers 27-16 Blues @Cape Town
Fri, 03 May 2013 Stormers 17-18 Blues @Albany
Stormers overall record against the Blues
Played 20 , Wins 10, Losses 10 , Draws 0
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose ( Stormers debut), 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salmaan M
15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Jacob Pierce, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Sione Mafileo 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Aaron Carroll, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie.
Match Officials and details
Date : Saturday 29 February
Venue : Newlands, Cape Town
Kick Off local: 15:05
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Marius van der Westhuizen Assistant Ref 2:Divan Uys
TMO :Joey Klaaste-Salmans