Stormers lock in on Crusaders



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Stormers coach Kobus van Der Merwe has named Ross Skeate and Francois van der Merwe as his new lock pairing in the Stormers line-up to take on the Crusaders in the Super 14 clash at Jade Stadium on Saturday.

First choice locks Andries Bekker and Springbok Gerrie Britz have been given a rest from the starting line-up due to the pair having been involved all the Stormers games this season.

“They (Bekker and Britz) are on the bench but we are hopeful that Ross Skeate and Francois van der Merwe can play for most of the match,” Kobus van der Merwe told the Stormers website.

“Ross has had some game time to date and has looked sharp while Francois needs to get some action and is keen to get involved.”

The rest of the team for the Crusaders game is pretty much the same one that beat the Waratahs 16-10 in Sydney last week.

In the backline there is one change, with Dylan des Fountain replacing the injured Corne Uys on the left wing. Uys has been ruled out because of an injured pectoral muscle that needs treatment.

Springbok flyer Brent Russell caused the Stormers camp some worry due to the ‘Pocket Rocket’ picking up a hamstring injury during practice on Tuesday. However, van der Merwe has named the former Sharks playmaker in his side at full-back for the tough Christchurch encounter.

The Crusaders have picked all six of their re-conditioned All Blacks to take on their visitors from Cape Town, a selection that has not caused too much of a sweat for van der Merwe and his troops.

“We are not concerning ourselves too much with what the Crusaders will do with their returning All Blacks,” the Stormers coach said.

“We are focusing on what it will take to beat them regardless of who is playing. We beat them last year and it would be nice to end the tour on a high note.”

Stormers: 15 Brent Russell, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Dylan Des Fountain, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8Justin Melck, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (captain), 5 Francois Van Der Merwe, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Andries Bekker, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Gio Aplon

Date: Saturday, 24 March
Venue: Jade Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia)
Touch judges: George Ayoub (Australia) Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Television match official: Josh Noonan (New Zealand)
Assessor: Alan Riley (New Zealand), Lusanda Menze (South Africa)


365 Digital

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