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Stormers spring midfield surprise for Bulls showdown

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Jean-Luc du Plessis will play his 50th game for the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship North-South clash against the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

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Du Plessis starts at inside centre in the big South African derby.

Damian Willemse is at fullback in the absence of the injured Warrick Gelant and will link up with wings Leolin Zas and Suleiman Hartzenberg, who comes in for Ben Loader, who has also been ruled out through injury.

Du Plessis is in midfield with Ruhan Nel in midfield, while Paul de Wet is inside Manie Libbok in place of the injured Herschel Jantjies.

Hacjivah Dayimani is at the back of the scrum with Evan Roos ruled out with a jaw injury and forms a loose trio with Ben-Jason Dixon and captain Deon Fourie.

The only change to the tight five sees Sti Sithole start at loosehead prop, while loose forwards Keke Morabe and Willie Engelbrecht, scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer and utility back Clayton Blommetjies come onto the replacements bench.

Stormers head coach John Dobson said his team is looking forward to what should be a special occasion at Cape Town Stadium.

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“It is always a big game against the Bulls and we know there will be an incredible atmosphere for this game.

“It is high summer in Cape Town and this is a game we have all been looking forward to, so it should be a day to remember for everyone there,” he said.

Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Date: Saturday, December 23:
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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Stormers spring midfield surprise for Bulls showdown

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