Mbonambi handed starting role

Bongi Mbonambi will make his first Vodacom Super Rugby start for the Stormers against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The former Bulls hooker, who left the Highveld citing a lack of first-team opportunities, will get his first chance to impress from the No 2 jumper for his new side.

His inclusion is one of just two changes to the team that saw off the Blues at Newlands last weekend. The other comes in the back row, where Nizaam Carr will make his first start of the season as a replacement for the injured Rynhardt Elstadt.

There are two further changes on the bench, with Springbok prop Frans Malherbe and Argentinian lock Manuel Carizza both recovering from injury to lend their experience to the match-day squad.

The Stormers have won both their matches so far and find themselves atop the overall log after the first two rounds of competition.

However, coach Allister Coetzee is not expecting any favours from the Lions who will be looking to register their first win of 2015.

'It’s our second challenge [early in the competition] at altitude and we’re expecting a very tough encounter against a desperate Lions team who are back at home again,' said Coetzee. 'From our side we are looking for continuous improvement in our play. Yes, we have won two matches but we are not fully satisfied and know that we can get better – and must get better – if we are to build on our start.

'We need to front up and need all of our key men to be at their best for what will be a very challenging match.'

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 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Super Rugby teams (Round 3)

Photo: Thinus Maritz/Gallo Images