Vermeulen leads Stormers into battle

Duane Vermeulen will once again skipper the Stormers in the absence of Schalk Burger at Kings Park on Saturday.

Burger will miss the clash against the Sharks, having sustained a knock to the neck in his team's comprehensive 33-0 win over the Cheetahs. His place on the side of the scrum will be taken by Siya Kolisi in the only change to the forward pack.

Among the backs, Sailosi Tagicakibau gets a start on the left wing after impressing off the bench last weekend, while Cheslin Kolbe switches to the right in place of the injured Kobus van Wyk.

Lock Manuel Carizza and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will make their returns from the bench, having missed large parts of the season through injury.

Oli Kebble has been ruled out for eight weeks following an ankle injury, and his place on the bench is taken by former SA U20 prop Sti Sithole.

Coach Allister Coetzee is under no illusions as to how difficult the task ahead is.

'The Sharks are not the current Super Rugby log-leaders for nothing,' said Coetzee. 'They’ve grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed and their win over the Crusaders in Christchurch says a lot about their character and state of mind.

'They’re a physical side who are strong at the breakdown and who boast a good kicking game. This is, without doubt, our biggest challenge of the year.'

Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Manuel Carizza, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Peter Grant.

Super Rugby teams (Round 16)

Photo: Steve Haag/Getty Images