Coetzee sticks with continuity mantra
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has decided to stick with his policy of continuity in selection for Saturday’s penultimate Vodacom Super Rugby league match against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Even though Springbok prop Pat Cilliers and big blindside flanker Rynhardt Elstadt are both back in the selection mix after recovering from injuries, Coetzee has opted to play both of them off the bench. That is even though Siya Kolisi, the Man of the Match last week, has been ruled out of the game through an injury that will keep him sidelined for six weeks.
Instead of sending Elstadt straight back into the battle as a starting No 7, Coetzee has chosen Don Armand, on the reserve bench last week, for the role.
“Don offers us a more seamless change from last week as he has been involved with the squad over the past few weeks and obviously I also want to stick with continuity in selection where I can,” said Coetzee.
“Considering the progress he has made over the past few weeks, which included a good debut for the Springboks, Siya is a big loss. But Don is an experienced player and I am confident he can do the job for us. The two players who are fit again have also made excellent progress over the past few weeks so it will be good to have them back in the squad.
“Bringing Don in also keeps the balance of the back row intact, with the right mix of guys who play to the ball and carriers.”
Fourie, who will captain the side again in the continued absence of Jean de Villiers, will switch jerseys back to the No 6 that Kolisi wore against the Cheetahs.
“All that will change is the number on my back, I will still be playing the same style and performing the same function,” said Fourie.
Cilliers comes onto the bench in place of Ross Geldenhuys, who has returned to the Kings after being part of the Stormers squad against the Cheetahs.
Elstadt fills the place vacated by Armand, while the other change to the reserves is the selection of Nic Groome as the back-up scrumhalf ahead of Dewaldt Duvenage.
Martin Bezuidenhout is back-up to Scarra Ntubeni at hooker, as he was against the Cheetahs, although he was only added at the last minute because of the back spasm that forced out Tiaan Liebenberg.
STORMERS TEAM: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Don Armand, Deon Fourie (capt), De Kock Steenkamp, Eben Etzebeth, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Rynhardt Elstadt, Nic Groom, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.