Vermeulen returns for Stormers to face Hurricanes

The Stormers have named Super Rugby their team to play the unbeaten Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday and have brought back regular captain Duane Vermeulen in the No.8 jersey.

Springbok forward Vermeulen miss last week’s 39-21 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin as part of the SA Super Rugby franchises agreement on resting Bok players for the world cup.

The second change, also up front, sees fellow Springbok Eben Etzebeth take over the No.4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, the latter dropping out of the matchday squad altogether – along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No.8 last week.

On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No.19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged replacements’ unit.

“Eben is 100% and ready to start again,” said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

He is a Springbok and he brings physicality and experience to the party which you need against New Zealand teams.

“I think Jean Kleyn has done a great job for us in Eben’s absence and I must give him credit, but this is our strongest possible pack at the moment and guys like Eben and Duane (Vermeulen), both of whom are highly-regarded Springboks, will add value in the physicality stakes and in other areas too.

“In terms of Nizaam Carr missing out, the Springbok No.8 is back and he understands that. Nizaam is a great player and he will be back to his best form, I know that and we will support him to get his confidence and form back.

“You can see Siya Kolisi’s game is picking up,” added Coetzee, “and having a guy like Mike Rhodes on the bench gives us additional cover in the lock and back row positions as we start with a physical, yet mobile pack.”

The Stormers and ‘Canes have met on New Zealand soil on seven previous occasions, with the Men from the Cape holding a narrow 4-3 head-to-head advantage – including a hard-fought 18-16 victory in Palmerston North in 2013.

“The Hurricanes are a quality side, they’re the best in the competition as their 6-0 record suggests,” said Coetzee.

“(But) they’re also a confident team and happy playing at home… we need to pitch up and execute our plans if we are to have a chance of beating them.”


15. Cheslin Kolbe , 14. Kobus van Wyk , 13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain) , 12. Damian de Allende , 11. Dillyn Leyds , 10. Demetri Catrakilis , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain) , 7. Schalk Burger , 6. Siya Kolisi (50th cap for Stormers) , 5. Manuel Carizza , 4. Eben Etzebeth , 3. Vincent Koch , 2. Scarra Ntubeni , 1. Steven Kitshoff

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

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