It’s difficult for a coach to select a matchday squad for a dead rubber ahead of an important playoff match.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation where everything you do in the clash before the crunch match will only be judged when the result of the knockout match is apparent.
But Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has to make some changes for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Kings after already qualifying for a home quarterfinal spot.
The first change in the backline will be a forced one, with centre Daniel du Plessis ruled out because of concussion.
Here, Fleck could opt for either Johnny Kotze or Huw Jones to pair with Damian de Allende, who should not be rested as he still needs to build some confidence heading into the big games.
It will also be important for Fleck to rotate his flyhalves. With Robert du Preez fit again and having gotten some game time at Currie Cup level, it would be wise to reintroduce him to Super Rugby against the Kings.
Jean-Luc du Plessis can then take a breather.
At scrumhalf, the experience of Jano Vermaak will be key in the knockouts. And while he has played off the bench for Western Province, Vermaak will have to start against the Kings to get back into the swing of things.
Up front, you’d expect Fleck to rest both locks Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, with JD Schickerling and Reinhard Elstadt perhaps coming into the frame.
Furthermore, it would be wise to introduce co-captain Frans Malherbe, who should be fit after returning from injury, off the bench with Vincent Koch continuing in the tighthead position.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni, though, desperately needs a start and if there is one change Fleck has to make it is swapping him with Bongi Mbonambi. As for loosehead, either one of the returnees – Oli Kebble or JC Janse van Rensburg – should start.