Malherbe to lead DHL Stormers in Bloemfontein

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Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe will captain the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom Super Rugby encounter with the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

With regular skipper Siya Kolisi and vice-captain Eben Ezebeth being rested, Malherbe takes the captaincy reins with wing Dillyn Leyds named vice-captain for the South African derby which kicks off at 15h05 on Saturday at the Free State Stadium.

Loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg returns from injury to take his place in the front row alongside Malherbe and hooker Ramone Samuels, who makes his first start of the season.

Bongi Mbonambi and Wilco Louw will provide front row cover off the replacements bench, along with Steven Kitshoff who will make his first appearance for the DHL Stormers since 2015 if called upon.

In the second row Chris van Zyl takes Etzebeth’s place next to Pieter-Steph du Toit, with JD Schickerling as back-up amongst the replacements.

Rynhardt Elstadt also returns from injury to link up with Kobus van Dyk and Nizaam Carr in the loose trio, while Sikhumbuzo Notshe is set to provide impact as a replacement.

In the backline the experienced Jano Vermaak will link up with 19-year-old flyhalf Damian Willemse, who makes his first DHL Stormers start having recently returned from duty at the World Rugby U20 Championships with the Junior Springboks.

In midfield Kiwi Shaun Treeby partners Juan de Jongh, with EW Viljoen playing off the replacements bench for the first time this season.

The back three of Leyds, Cheslin Kolbe and SP Marais will start the game, while Sevens star Seabelo Senatla will inject some pace from the bench.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team will have to hit the ground running after the June break in what will be a typically tough derby in Bloemfontein.

“The Toyota Cheetahs are always a tough prospect on their home turf, so we will have to be sharp if we are to come away with the win we are looking for.

“The players have trained well this week and we are excited to see what they are able to produce in Bloemfontein,” he said.

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds (vice-captain), 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 EW Viljoen, 23 Seabelo Senatla.

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