The Stormers are banking on the magic of Warrick Gelant off the bench once again as they prepare for their massively important United Rugby Championship clash against the Bulls at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
In a match that could very well decide who finishes top of the SA conference and gains automatic entry into the European Rugby Champions Cup, it has huge implications and will see both sides desperate for a positive result.
In the first game between the two sides at Loftus in January, it was the Stormers who took an early lead, before being pegged back by the Bulls and were then in danger of being beaten when Gelant joined the fray and scored and assisted to drag his side to a win.
This time around though Gelant would have been starting the match if it wasn’t for him picking up an injury in their win over Ulster, which then saw him miss the game against Ospreys and he now makes his return off the bench.
“It’s largely medical. He has recovered but we wanted to mitigate any risk from rushing him back as we have quite a big run in,” explained Stormers coach John Dobson.
“So we are squeezing him a little bit because we could have rested him, but he wanted to start so we agreed to let him play off the bench.
“So it’s not strategic or anything, if he had been fully fit we would have started him and Damian (Willemse) would have played at 12.”
The Stormers are however boosted by the return of hooker Scarra Ntubeni from injury, as he slots straight back in, while Deon Fourie, who was rested last week, and Herschel Jantjies both start, with Junior Pokemela and Paul de Wet playing off the bench.
Springbok prop Frans Malherbe will also make his impact off the bench after he returned from injury two games ago and started both times, with him now looking to make an impact while Neethling Fouche gets a start.
Stormers: Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Rikus Pretorius, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies, Evan Roos, Hacjivah Dayimani, Deon Fourie, Marvin Orie, Adre Smith, Neethling Fouche, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff (c)
Bench: Chad Solomon, Brok Harris, Frans Malherbe, Connor Evans, Ben-Jason Dixon, Junior Pokomela, Paul de Wet, Warrick Gelant