Pieter-Steph du Toit will make a long-awaited return from injury for the Stormers in the Rainbow Cup match against the Sharks at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Du Toit has been sidelined since suffering a career-threatening leg injury at the end of February last year, while his comeback in the recent Preparation Series was then delayed after he suffered a nose injury in training earlier this year.
The 28-year-old Du Toit has now fully recovered and has been brought into the starting XV at blindside flank.
New recruits Marvin Orie and Willie Engelbrecht will both play their first competitive match for the Stormers having been selected at lock and eighthman respectively.
Du Toit and Engelbrecht are joined by openside flank Nama Xaba in the loose trio, while Orie is partnered by JD Schickerling in the second row.
The experienced trio of captain Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni and Frans Malherbe start in the front row.
Herschel Jantjies and Kade Wolhuter are the selected halfback pairing for this week, with Rikus Pertorius and Ruhan Nel in the midfield, while Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla and Edwill van der Merwe form the back three.
Stormers boss John Dobson said that his team are determined to start their campaign on a positive note at their new home.
‘This will be our first competitive match at our new home Cape Town Stadium and we want to ensure that we get some early momentum in this competition.
‘The Rainbow Cup is something we have all been looking forward to and our focus is on delivering a cohesive team performance that makes the most of the considerable talent we have running out for us on Saturday,’ he said.
Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c).
Subs (from): 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Dan du Plessis, 24 David Meihuizen, 25 Marcel Theunissen, 26 Leolin Zas.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images