Stormers receive Bok boost

Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth will return to the starting XV for the Stormers' Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.

Vermeulen will take over the No 8 jersey from Nizaam Carr and will assume the captaincy after missing last weekend's heavy loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin as part of the rest agreement between Saru and the South African franchises.

Fellow Springbok Etzebeth will start in the second row in place of Jean Kleyn, who drops out of the match-day squad altogether. The halfback pairing of Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis is retained, despite failing to get the Stormers backline going in Dunedin.

The only other change comes on the bench, where lock Ruan Botha has recovered from injury to take his place among the replacements for the clash with the unbeaten Hurricanes.

'Eben is 100% and ready to start again. He's a Springbok and he brings physicality and experience to the party which you need against New Zealand teams,' said coach Allister Coetzee.

'I think Jean has done a great job for us in Eben’s absence and I must give him credit, but this is our strongest possible pack at the moment and guys like Eben and Duane, both of whom are highly regarded Springboks, will add value in the physicality stakes and in other areas too.

'The Hurricanes are a quality side, they’re the best in the competition as their 6-0 record suggests,' Coetzee added. 'They’re a confident side and happy playing at home, but we need to pitch up and executed our plans if we are to have a chance of beating them.'

Stormers – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images