Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin has made some tweaks to the home pack from the team that lost to the Cell C Sharks last weekend. Carlu Sadie comes back into the front row, while Vincent Tshituka will now form the loose trio with Cyle Brink (flank) and Kwagga Smith (No 8). Brink switches position on the side of the scrum.
Elton Jantjies was not considered for selection this week due to a breach of team protocol, which means a new half-back combination of Shaun Reynolds and Ross Cronje for the home team.
Meanwhile, Steven Kitshoff will captain the DHL Stormers against their Highveld rivals. The experienced Springbok prop takes over the captaincy from regular skipper Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (shoulder) and Kobus van Dyk (knee) have all been ruled out due to injuries, which have resulted in a number of changes to the DHL Stormers pack.
In the loose trio, Sikhumbuzo Notshe will start at No 8, with Jaco Coetzee shifting to openside flank and Johan du Toit on the other side of the scrum, where he replaces his older brother, Pieter-Steph.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth returns after being sidelined through illness last week and takes his place in the second row alongside Cobus Wiese. The only change to the front row is a rotation switch at tighthead prop, with Wilco Louw in the starting line-up and Frans Malherbe set to make an impact off the bench.
The Pride of Jozi have had the upper hand in recent meetings between the sides, boasting four wins from six outings between them, while Highvelders will also run onto the field with no less than nine wins from their last 11 matches at home.
The visitors from Cape Town will however point to their recent good performances in derbies – they have won their last three such fixtures featuring local opponents. The DHL Stormers scored four tries in an impressive 34-22 victory against the Highlanders last week in Cape Town and will set their sights on another good performance.
What they said:
DHL Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said their focus this week has been on ensuring the players are in the right space physically and mentally for the challenge: “The focus has been to assemble a playing group that is primed and ready both physically and mentally for what we will face on Saturday. There is no doubting the motivation within the group.”
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee; 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi; 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje; 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 18 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Tyrone Green.
DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Marno Redelinghuys (DHL Stormers debut), 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel.
Head to head:
Emirates Lions won: 5
DHL Stormers won: 12
Emirates Lions points: 374
DHL Stormers points: 443
Average score: 21-25
Date: Saturday, 1 June
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Stefan Geldenhuys
Television Match Official: Marius Jonker
Other Round 16 fixtures are:
Friday, 31 May:
11h45: Rebels vs Waratahs, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, 1 June:
07h15: Sunwolves vs Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Stadium
09h35: Chiefs vs Crusaders, ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji11h45: Reds vs Jaguares, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane