The DHL Stormers will play three friendlies – against the Bulls, the Southern Kings and Boland – in February 2014, ahead of next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
All three matches will be played away from home, in Polokwane (v Bulls) and Port Elizabeth (v Kings), with the venue for the third friendly, against Boland, yet to be confirmed. Boland, as the hosts, will decide on the kick-off time and venue at a later stage.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told www.thestormers.com: “The three friendlies will test us – all in a different way – and allow us to work on a few things ahead of our first Super Rugby game (against the Lions) on Saturday, February 22.
“Three fixtures are more than enough and will give us plenty of time to test things in a game situation and we’re more than happy to move straight from our friendlies into our first competitive match of the 2014 season.”
The Stormers management team will head back to work on Wednesday, November 20, with the players assembling on Monday, November 25 as preparations in Cape Town are officially set to commence ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season.
The pre-season squad will have a break over the Festive Season, their last day of training will be on Friday, December 20, before they reconvene on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. A squad of players will also travel to Hermanus later in January for the annual DHL Stormers pre-season camp.
“We will announce our initial pre-season training squad later this week, but we will, as always, invite a few younger players – from this year’s successful Under-21 group and next year’s WP Rugby Institute intake – to join our (pre-season) preparations,” Coetzee explained further.
“Springbok touring squad members like Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi, Louis Schreuder and Gio Aplon will miss the first week of pre-season training, but will join us from week two onwards, but others like Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen and Jean de Villiers will rejoin us in January only – along with (Argentine lock) Manuel Carizza.”
When asked about the rest of his squad, and any other potential new faces, Coetzee added: “We could still make one or two final signings which we hope to finalise in the next few weeks.
“We are looking for a wing to replace Bryan Habana and Gerhard van den Heever, and are surveying all our options, but I can say that we will not be signing Cooper Vuna.
“As we always do, we will announce any signings we make once they have been confirmed by both parties.”
THE DHL STORMERS’ 2014 PRE-SEASON FIXTURES:
Saturday, February 1:
Bulls v DHL Stormers, Peter Mokaba Stadium (Polokwane) – 17h00
Friday, February 7:
Southern Kings v DHL Stormers, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Port Elizabeth) – 19h00
Saturday, February 15:
Boland v DHL Stormers, venue and kick-off time TBC