• De Allende boosts Stormers

    Damian de Allende will start at inside centre for the Stormers' clash against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

    De Allende suffered a quadriceps tear in their opening pre-season clash with the SWD Eagles two weeks ago and was a major doubt for the match at Loftus. But he's regained full fitness and will partner Juan de Jongh in an all-Springbok midfield. Loose forward Nizaam Carr returns to bolster the Stormers' bench for their Super Rugby season-opener.

    Allister Coetzee has also named two debutants – wing Johnny Kotze and prop Vincent Koch – in his starting XV, with three more rookies included on the bench. 

    Former Bulls hooker Bongi Mbonambi will play against his old teammates if he gets an opportunity from the bench, with Scarra Ntubeni the incumbent.

    The Stormers start their season away to their arch-rivals for the second time in three years, and Coetzee admits it's a great challenge. 

    'It's a tough assignment because this is a great Bulls team, packed with Springboks, but it's been done before', he said.

    'There's no greater challenge than facing the Bulls at Loftus, but we have prepared well and the players are comfortable with their responsibilites within the team and the expectations placed on them.'

    Stormers – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
    Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

    Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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    Mariette Adams