Stormers v Hurricanes
Sunday 2 February, 2.05am NZT at Newlands, Cape Town
Won: Stormers 11, Hurricanes 9
Last match: Hurricanes 34, Stormers 28 (23 March 2019)
Eight of the last nine Super Rugby games between the Stormers and Hurricanes have been
won by the home team of the day, with the Hurricanes last away win against the Stormers coming in March 2006.
He will forever be remembered for wearing the No 6 jersey when the Springboks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but national captain Siya Kolisi is embracing a new role at the back of the scrum for the Stormers in their Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday.
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It is not unfamiliar territory for the 28-year-old, who started his career playing No 8 at age-group level, but the tactical switch under new coach John Dobson now sees Jaco Coetzee move to openside flank having featured at No 8 under Robbie Fleck last year.
It is a move that Dobson will be monitoring closely on Saturday, and if he feels that either player is not ticking the right boxes then the option to swap around mid-game is still available.
Kolisi, though, is embracing the change.
“The only difference is the scrumming,” he told media at Newlands on Thursday.
“It’ll take me a couple of games but I really enjoy it. It gives me a little bit more freedom, but you still have to be as fit as a No 6 because I have to sprint back and forth and help the backs.”
When asked if he was now expecting to make more carries, Kolisi explained that he would do whatever what best for the team in a given situation.
“I really don’t think too much about that. If I have to clean all day, that’s what I’ll do.,” he said.
“I won’t look at the number on my back and think that now I don’t have to do what I normally do in the field.
“Whatever is required of me at the time, I’m going to have to do.
“Dobbo and the other coaches are going to send messages down, so that I can adjust if I am too loose or whatever.
“We also have Jaco Coetzee who has played No 8 quite a lot and if it gets too much, we will just swap position.”
The Stormers, with five World Cup-winning Boks in their starting pack, are expected to be one of the most dangerous sides in the competition in that department.
All Blacks duo TJ Perenara and Jordie Barrett are set to start for the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby opener against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
It will be the first time Perenara has led the Hurricanes in his new capacity as official co-captain.
The 23-man squad also boasts the experience of Ngani Laumape at inside centre and Gareth Evans in the No 8 jersey.
Fletcher Smith has earned himself a start at flyhalf with Jackson Garden-Bachop on the bench.
Several Hurricanes debutants have been named in the starting line-up, including former Blues lock, Scott Scrafton, and former Highlanders prop, Tyrel Lomax.
Head coach Jason Holland told the Hurricanes’ official website that pre-season was useful.
“We worked hard through our pre-season matches at improving parts of our game and performance. Nobody shows too much in pre-season games, so we are looking forward to trying a few things.”
Holland added that every player named in this weekend’s squad knows it will be a tough game, especially since the Hurricanes haven’t won in Cape Town since 2006.
“The Stormers will be a physical challenge for us and we expect them to be very direct and attack us up front. We will look forward to that challenge and intend to put them under pressure with our style of rugby. We’ve had a thorough week in Cape Town and are in good shape heading into the weekend.”
The Hurricanes walked away with a 34-28 win against the Stormers last season. Several players, including Ben Lam, Ricky Riccitelli, James Blackwell and Wes Goosen were in that team and have been selected this time around.
Kick-off is at 15:05 on Saturday.
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Siya Kolisi, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Johan du Toit, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Rikus Pretorius
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Fletcher Smith, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Fraser Armstrong
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Auma, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso
Stormers v Hurricanes
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Egon Seconds (South Africa)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)