De Jongh captains the Stormers against Highlanders

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has named his team to play in their Super Rugby tour-opener against the Highlanders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

Centre Juan de Jongh will captain the Stormers as No.8 Duane Vermeulen is being rested as per the agreement with SA Rugby and Schalk Burger starts as vice captain in what will be his 100th appearance in a Stormers jersey.

The 31-year-old Springbok star joins Andries Bekker (2013) and Jean de Villiers and Peter Grant (both 2014) in reaching this impressive landmark for the Men from the Cape and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee paid tribute to the team’s “ultimate warrior”.

“I don’t think people realise exactly what Schalk went through in 2012 and 2013, first with his knee injury and then his illness,” said Coetzee on the Stormers site.

“He is the ultimate warrior and just to get back into the game after his setbacks, never mind what he has achieved since then, speaks volumes about the man’s character as does his recent nomination for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award. ,

“Schalk, of course, is a true Western Province man. He is popular in this team, with a lot of players looking up to him, and he means a lot to us all. The opposition are also hugely respectful of Schalk – both on and off the field – which also shows just what an impression he has made on the game during his career.”

In other changes to the team – from the line-up that did duty against the Chiefs two weeks ago – Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis will link up once again at halfback, whilst the loose trio has been reshuffled in the absence of Vermeulen with Nizaam Carr packing down at No.8, Burger lining up at No.7 and Siya Kolisi shifting across to No.6.

On the bench, meanwhile, hooker Bongi Mbonambi (for Neil Rautenbach), prop Oli Kebble (for Ali Vermaak), lock Eben Etzebeth (for Ruan Botha) and flanker Mike Rhodes (for Burger) all come on to the bench with Louis Schreuder and Kurt Coleman swapping places with Groom and Catrakilis, respectively.

Coetzee explained the thinking behind Etzebeth’s return via the bench, adding: “We think it’s better to ease Eben back, but, also, a guy like Jean Kleyn has done very well this season and he deserves to start.

“We will make changes (during the game) as and when we see the need (as the starting players tire or show fatigue), but, either way, we’re lucky to be able to call upon the likes of Eben, Bongi Mbonambi, Oli Kebble, Frans Malherbe and Mike Rhodes as forward replacements.”


15. Cheslin Kolbe , 14. Kobus van Wyk , 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) , 12. Damian de Allende , 11. Dillyn Leyds , 10. Demetri Catrakilis , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Nizaam Carr , 7. Schalk Burger (100th cap for Stormers – vice-captain) , 6. Siya Kolisi , 5. Manuel Carizza , 4. Jean Kleyn , 3. Vincent Koch , 2. Scarra Ntubeni , 1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: 16. Bongi Mbonambi , 17. Oli Kebble , 18. Frans Malherbe , 19. Eben Etzebeth , 20. Michael Rhodes , 21. Louis Schreuder , 22. Kurt Coleman , 23. Huw Jones

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