Etzebeth leads Stormers into battle
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Eben Etzebeth will captain the Stormers in their Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
With regular captain Siyamthanda Kolisi not available for selection due to the Springbok management plan, Etzebeth will lead the side for the second time this season having stood in for Kolisi in the victory against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth as well.
Pieter-Steph du Toit moves from lock to blindside flank to take Kolisi's place on the side of the scrum, with Chris van Zyl coming in to partner Etzebeth in the second row and Cobus Wiese back from injury to provide loose forward cover on the replacements bench.
The only other change in the forward pack is a rotational switch at tighthead prop with Wilco Louw back in the starting line-up and Frans Malherbe on the replacements bench.
In the backline, Dillyn Leyds moves from wing to fullback in place of the injured Sarel Marais with Bjorn Basson lining up on the left wing. Dewaldt Duvenage is back at scrumhalf after being rested last week with Jano Vermaak moving to the replacements bench.
Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said that following a productive week on tour, his team is ready to embrace the challenge that the Crusaders will pose.
"We have put some good plans in place and have trained well this week, so the players are all looking forward to getting out there and showing what they are capable of.
"We know that we face an unbeaten team on Saturday, so this will be a great opportunity to test ourselves and see where we are as a group," he said.
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel.
Date: Saturday, April 22
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (09.35 SA Time; 07.45 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)