STARTING: Stormers winger Gerhard van den Heever will replace Gio Aplon
STEADY: Stormers coach Allister Coetzee
Wing Gerhard van den Heever replaces the injured Gio Aplon in an enforced change, while tighthead Brok Harris returns, with Frans Malherbe dropping to the bench.
JP du Plessis and Aplon have been bracketed on the bench if the latter passes a late fitness test on a groin strain. Flank Nizaam Carr replaces Nick Koster on the bench.
The Stormers have only used 27 players in this campaign so far – Du Plessis will become the 28th if he plays – showing how consistent Coetzee’s selections have been and how fortunate they have been on the injury front.
As the only unbeaten team in the tournament, it’s obviously a policy that has paid dividends. But will the effects of so little rotation be exposed in the latter part of the competition?
Coetzee is aware of overusing players and has been monitoring their key performance indicators closely. Lock Andries Bekker is one man the Stormers wanted to manage carefully this season because of his ongoing back problems, but he has not had a rest yet.
Injury permitting, the big second-rower could take a breather against the Reds next week.
In years past the Stormers might have conceded the game against the seven-time champions by throwing in the fringe members of the squad and targeted “easier” matches for victory.
But the Stormers of 2012 fear no side and believe they can win any game.
Sharks coach John Plumtree, meanwhile, has recalled flyhalf Pat Lambie to the starting line-up for their match against the Blues in Auckland.
l England will play two midweek games when they tour South Africa in June this year, in addition to three rugby tests against the Springboks.
At this stage Kimberley and Potchefstroom appear to be the likely venues for the midweek games but England’s opponents have not been finalised. The SA Barbarians have been mentioned as one team to take on the Roses.
The reason the midweek matches have been scheduled for those venues is that England will be based on the Highveld.
The tests will take place at King’s Park in Durban, Ellis Park in Johannesburg and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
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