Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi and wing Sergeal Petersen will start in the Stormers’ Super Rugby Unlocked opener against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers starting lineup features just two changes from the team that beat the Lions in the Super Fan Saturday pre-season match in Pretoria last month.
Mbonambi, who was on the bench in that match, rotates with Scarra Ntubeni in the only change to a strong pack which includes Springboks in captain Siya Kolisi and props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.
In the only change to the backline, Sergeal Petersen, who has recovered from a foot injury, takes his place on the right wing in place of Seabelo Senatla, who will miss the match with a hamstring injury. As a result, Leolin Zas will shift to the left wing.
Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant and former Junior Springbok centre Rikus Pretorius will be making their first official Super Rugby starts for the Stormers.
On the bench, former Western Province youth player Tim Swiel could make his first official appearance for the Stormers, after joining the side having played for Harlequins and the Newcastle Falcons in England.
‘This is our first competitive match since March, so to say that we are looking forward to it would be an understatement,’ coach John Dobson said. ‘The players and coaches have all worked hard in preparation and we can’t wait to get going.
‘We have been able to select a very strong team with some quality players missing out, so the challenge will be to gel as a unit and start our campaign on the front foot.’
Stormers – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Michal Haznar, 23 Tim Swiel.
Photo: Thinus Maritz/Gallo Images