Prop Oli Kebble was ruled out for the rest of the campaign, while Springbok flanker Schalk Burger had to pull out with a neck injury.
“It’s been a tough week, with many of our players being (with the Boks) in Durban and some injury worries with Schalk and Oli,” said chastened Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.
“It’s a young team, but it’s a side with plenty of enthusiasm and attitude.”
Prop Sti Sithole (an SA Under-20 starting player last year) is in line to earn his debut from the bench, while No 8 Duane Vermeulen has taken over the leadership, with Siya Kolisi starting in the No 7 jersey in the absence of Burger.
Coetzee said he rates the Sharks as a physical side who are strong at the breakdown and who boast a good kicking game and warned it’s without doubt their biggest challenge of the year.
“The Sharks are not the current Super Rugby leaders for nothing,” added 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.”
Sailosi Tagicakibau will start on the left wing, with Cheslin Kolbe shifting to the right in place of the injured Kobus van Wyk.
Argentine lock Manuel Carizza returns to the bench for the first time since the end of February, whilst Demetri Catrakilis is also back in the mix.