The Stormers http://thestormers.com The official website for the DHL Stormers Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:28:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Captain Vermeulen returns for Wellington clash http://thestormers.com/captain-vermeulen-returns-for-wellington-clash/ http://thestormers.com/captain-vermeulen-returns-for-wellington-clash/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:29:13 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8625 The influential No.8 missed last week’s 21-39 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin as part of the SA franchises’ rest agreement with SA Rugby, but he returns this week in one of two changes to the DHL Stormers XV.

The second change, also up front, sees fellow Springbok hardman Eben Etzebeth take over the No.4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, the latter dropping out of the matchday squad altogether – along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No.8 last week.

On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No.19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged replacements’ unit.

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “Eben is 100% and ready to start again. He is a Springbok and he brings physicality and experience to the party which you need against New Zealand teams.

“I think Jean Kleyn has done a great job for us in Eben’s absence and I must give him credit, but this is our strongest possible pack at the moment and guys like Eben and Duane (Vermeulen), both of whom are highly-regarded Springboks, will add value in the physicality stakes and in other areas too.

“In terms of Nizaam Carr missing out, the Springbok No.8 is back and he understands that. Nizaam is a great player and he will be back to his best form, I know that and we will support him to get his confidence and form back.

“You can see Siya Kolisi’s game is picking up,” added Coetzee, “and having a guy like Mike Rhodes on the bench gives us additional cover in the lock and back row positions as we start with a physical, yet mobile pack.”

The DHL Stormers and ‘Canes have met on New Zealand soil on seven previous occasions, with the Men from the Cape holding a narrow 4-3 head-to-head advantage – including a hard-fought 18-16 victory in Palmerston North in 2013.

“The Hurricanes are a quality side, they’re the best in the competition as their 6-0 record suggests,” said Coetzee.

“(But) they’re also a confident team and happy playing at home… we need to pitch up and execute our plans if we are to have a chance of beating them.”

The DHL Stormers team to face the Hurricanes (away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Dillyn Leyds
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Schalk Burger
6. Siya Kolisi (50th cap for DHL Stormers)
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Vincent Koch
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Oli Kebble
18. Frans Malherbe
19. Ruan Botha
20. Michael Rhodes
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Huw Jones

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

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2015 tour update: Lessons learnt http://thestormers.com/2015-tour-update-lessons-learnt/ http://thestormers.com/2015-tour-update-lessons-learnt/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:17:34 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8618 The Men from the Cape went down 21-39 to the Highlanders in their tour-opener in Dunedin on Saturday, but they remain determined as ever to bounce back this week against the table-topping – and unbeaten – Hurricanes.

Adding to that determination was a clean bill of health on the injury front, meaning that all 27 squad members would be taking part in training tomorrow and, thus, would also be available for selection in Week Two of the four-match tour.

According to Proudfoot, the squad had good conditioning and review sessions on Monday, whilst the management team held their regular preview meetings in their specific departments as well as with the senior players and leadership team (all part of the team’s regular Monday routine).

“We had a very good review day and have put the Highlanders game to bed,” Proudfoot told the www.iamastormer.com website.

“The Hurricanes and Highlanders are similar in some ways, but not totally the same in other (ways). You need to dominate New Zealand sides on the gainline and if you need match them with your kicking game (too).

“We need to train accurately this week and put our lessons into practice against a Hurricanes side that is rightly sitting on top of the log and a team that has a tremendous ability to strike from out wide and also from turnovers.”

Speaking about the performance of the DHL Stormers pack, which continues to impress in 2015, Proudfoot added: “As a pack we set high standards and we need to maintain that consistency in our game to be a dominant pack (on a consistent basis).

“The Hurricanes are tough and proud up front and they play an incredibly hard brand of rugby. They are very proficient at line-out time, they have an excellent scrum and their work-rate is phenomenal. We need to match them in all facets of play up front – if you can’t match them technically you won’t be able to compete with them physically.”

The DHL Stormers team, to face the Hurricanes, will be announced on Tuesday morning (South African time).

The tour squad will travel to Wellington on Thursday before taking on the ‘Canes at the Westpac Stadium on Friday (19h35 NZ time; 08h35 SA time).

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2015 Super Rugby review – Rd 7 http://thestormers.com/2015-super-rugby-review-rd-7/ http://thestormers.com/2015-super-rugby-review-rd-7/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 19:00:24 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8616 The match in Pretoria was the undoubted highlight of the weekend from a quality point of view, with the Vodacom Bulls extending their winning run at home over the Crusaders after winning 31-19.

For sheer audacity, the Emirates Lions deserve a lot of plaudits for beating the Reds by 18-17 in Brisbane on Friday morning and thus ending their tour on three wins from four – their best Australasian return yet.

The Cell C Sharks meanwhile moved to the top of the South African Conference and into the top three on the log with a hard-fought 15-9 win over the Force in Durban on Saturday afternoon, scoring all their points in the second half.

The Toyota Cheetahs and DHL Stormers found the going tough in New Zealand though as both went down – the side from Central South Africa by 37-27 to the Chiefs in Hamilton and the Capetonians by 39-21 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Reds 17 (3) Emirates Lions 18 (8)

The Emirates Lions have returned to South Africa with three wins from four matches on their Australasian tour, making it their best-ever visit Down Under since the Cats franchise split up after the 2005 season.

The 18-17 win over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane may not have been pretty, but Joburg’s Pride and their supporters won’t worry too much about that – winning on the road has been difficult for the Lions in recent years and to get three from four deserves a hat-tip.

Before they embarked on this tour, the Lions had won only five from 35 matches Down Under, or 14%.

As they’ve done for most of the time on this tour, the Emirates Lions defended like machines against the Reds, especially in the second half when the 2011 champions found their groove.

In fact, while the team from Johannesburg won many hearts with their attacking rugby in the last few seasons, it was their efforts on defence in the last month that showed a new balance in the team.

Tries each side of half-time, first by Harold Vorster and then by Warwick Tecklenburg, was the difference for the visitors, while Elton Jantjies kicked what turned out to be the match-winning penalty goal with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.

Scorers:

Reds: Tries: Samu Kerevi, Penalty try. Conversions: Quade Cooper (2). Penalty goal: Cooper.
Emirates Lions: Tries: Harold Vorster, Warwick Tecklenburg. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalty goals: Jantjies (2).

Chiefs 37 (14) Toyota Cheetahs 27 (13)

Heinrich Brüssow scored two tries for the Toyota Cheetahs, but also got yellow carded as they allowed another good first-half performance to turn into defeat in New Zealand.

The Chiefs, two-time champions, started very well with two tries in the first 20 minutes, but the visitors never gave up and fought their way back into the encounter, with two Kiwis spending time in the sin-bin in the first half.

Boom Prinsloo scored the visitors’ first try during this time, but unfortunately the Toyota Cheetahs could not make this numerical advantage count. When Brüssow was sin-binned after the break, 12 minutes after scoring his first try, the Chiefs scored two more to put the result beyond any doubt.

Brüssow scored a second try towards the end of the match which meant that six of the seven tries in this encounter were scored by loose forwards.

Scorers:

Chiefs: Tries: Liam Messam, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane, Andre Horrell. Conversions: Aaron Cruden (4). Penalty goals: Cruden (3).
Toyota Cheetahs: Tries: Heinrich Brüssow (2), Boom Prinsloo. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2), Willie du Plessis. Penalty goals: Pietersen (2).

Highlanders 39 (24) DHL Stormers 21 (7)

The DHL Stormers ran into a rampant Highlanders side in Dunedin on Saturday morning, with the home team recording their first win over the Capetonians since 24 February 2007.

It was a polished performance by the Highlanders, who exploited mistakes on defence by the DHL Stormers, to win their fourth game of the season, while their visitors lost their second successive encounter of 2015 following a slew of uncharacteristic errors.

It was also the DHL Stormers’ biggest defeat in New Zealand in almost six years, since the Hurricanes beat them by 34-11 in 2009.

Juan de Jongh, who took over the captaincy for this match, scored two tries for the visitors. His first opened the scoring in the 19th minute, but it seemed to wake the home team up, who scored three of their own before the break.

The Highlanders got their bonus-point try in the 48th minute and with the score 31-7 to the home team with half an hour to go, it was effectively the end of the DHL Stormers’ charge.

Scorers:

Highlanders: Tries: Waisake Naholo (2), Patrick Osborne, Aaron Smith, Dan Pryor. Conversions: Lima Sopoaga (4). Penalty goals: Sopoaga, Marty Banks.
DHL Stormers: Tries: Juan de Jongh (2), Michael Rhodes. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman (2).

Cell C Sharks 15 (0) Force 6 (9)

The Cell C Sharks’ 15-9 victory over the Force at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday afternoon will probably not be remembered for too long, but it was enough to see the KwaZulu-Natalians move into the top three on the log.

The first half was an especially drab affair, with two penalty goals by the visitors’ South African-born flyhalf Sias Ebersohn the only points scored, while unforced errors proved costly for both sides.

Things looked a bit better for the Cell C Sharks in the second half. SP Marais rounded off after a good attacking move in the 43rd minute. The home team’s fullback also played a big role in the 68th minute try of Lwazi Mvovo with a brilliant counter-attacking run off an average kick by the visitors.

The Force had opportunities late in the game, first when Ebersohn missed a sitter in front of the uprights and later when the TMO disallowed a try for obstruction, but they did get a losing bonus-point with a penalty goal at the death.

The battle at the top of the SA Conference log is heating up, with six points separating the top four teams, although the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers both have a match in hand over the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks: Tries: SP Marais, Lwazi Mvovo. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty goal: Zeilinga.
Force: Penalty goals: Sias Ebersohn (2), Luke Burton.

Vodacom Bulls 31 (18) Crusaders 19 (16)

Two tries in the first 10 minutes set the Vodacom Bulls up to record a very good 31-19 win over the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening, extending their winning run at home over the seven-time champions to five matches.

The home team put the Cantabrians under massive pressure early on and when Francois Hougaard and Burger Odendaal, a late replacement for Jan Serfontein, crossed for tries, the Vodacom Bulls led by 12-0.

The Crusaders clawed their way back though and continued to use their advantage in possession to good effect, but the Vodacom Bulls defended very well and managed to restrict their visitors to only one try in the match.

In fact, the Crusaders could only score three points in the entire second half, while the Vodacom Bulls opened up a gap on the score board thanks to Handré Pollard’s kicking boot and an intercept try by Grant Hattingh, which saw the replacement forward run more than 50 metres before going over.

The Vodacom Bulls’ solid defence forced mistakes from the Crusaders, while the visitors’ discipline gave Pollard a number of opportunities to put points on the board in a very exciting and tough encounter.

Scorers:

Vodacom Bulls: Tries: Francois Hougaard, Burger Odendaal, Grant Hattingh. Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalty goals: Pollard (4).
Crusaders: Try: Nemani Nadolo. Conversions: Dan Carter. Penalty goals: Carter (4).

Other results – Round Seven:

Hurricanes 26 Rebels 12
Waratahs 23 Blues 11

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Disappointment in Dunedin http://thestormers.com/disappointment-in-dunedin/ http://thestormers.com/disappointment-in-dunedin/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 11:17:56 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8613 The DHL Stormers went down 21-39 to the Highlanders in Dunedin earlier today and were unable to give flanker Schalk Burger the win they all craved in his 100th game for the Cape-based franchise.

“I am very disappointed,” Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com on Saturday evening (NZ time), “this wasn’t what we wanted for Schalk in his 100th match and it certainly wasn’t what we wanted in our first tour match.

“That said, it’s not a train-smash. We know we can get it right for next week (v the Hurricanes), despite it being a short week.”

Coetzee praised his team’s start, which saw them lead 7-0 after 18 minutes of play, but he was disappointed with a few execution errors which forced them to play catch-up after half-time as they conceded three first-half tries to trail by 24-7.

“I thought we started very well and found a lot of space in the first twenty minutes,” he said, “we dominated initially, but those final passes did not go to hand.

“Those execution errors cost us points and we then had to play catch-up which is tough to do against a team like the Highlanders that does not make any errors.”

Another positive for the DHL Stormers was their line-out and scrum, whilst Coetzee was also complimentary of their kicking game.

He added: “Our kick-chase was good tonight, it was an improvement from the Chiefs game.

“We need to be more patient with ball in hand and we need to protect the ball too – conceding 19 turnovers is a big disappointment for us.

“I believe we can win next week, as well as our remaining tour matches, and we will do whatever it takes to pick up a win – be it team selection or working even harder at training.”

Coetzee, meanwhile, reported no major injury concerns after the Highlanders clash, whilst Eben Etzebeth and Mike Rhodes both made satisfactory comebacks from injury in the second half.

The DHL Stormers will return to Queenstown on Sunday – their base for the past few days – before making their way to Wellington next Thursday ahead of their meeting with the unbeaten Hurricanes the following day (April 3 – 19h35 NZ time; 08h35 SA time).

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DHL Stormers lose tour-opener http://thestormers.com/dhl-stormers-lose-tour-opener/ http://thestormers.com/dhl-stormers-lose-tour-opener/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 08:42:22 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8605 The visitors, with the legendary Schalk Burger leading the side out on the occasion of his 100th match, began the match like a house on fire as new captain Juan de Jongh opened their account with a brilliant try in the 19th minute.

Burger, as one would expect, was heavily involved in the lead-up to De Jongh’s try with a clever off-load, but the visitors were unable to control the restart and found themselves under pressure soon after.

That pressure eventually told as the Highlanders’ All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith dotted down against the upright to level the scores – after Lima Sopoaga’s conversion – at 7-7 after 23 minutes.

Sopoaga then added a penalty almost ten minutes later, before Waisake Naholo picked up a loose pass to score a crucial intercept try – which Sopoaga converted – to suddenly put the Kiwis ahead by 17-7 with half-time approaching.

Unfortunately for the DHL Stormers, whose forwards held the upperhand for most of the first half, Naholo was at it again before half-time and his second score (in the 40th minute) made it 24-7 to the hosts at the break.

The DHL Stormers had to make it count soon after half-time but despite trading some big blows they were unable to turn that pressure into points and the Highlanders secured a four-try bonus point when powerhouse winger Patrick Osborne burrowed over between the forwards in the 48th minute.

Typically, however, the DHL Stormers – despite trailing by 31-7 – never gave up and an outstanding breakout, led by Burger and Siya Kolisi, saw them win an attacking penalty and Aaron Smith was yellow-carded for a cynical offence in his own 22.

Replacement loose forward Mike Rhodes crashed over for a try in the 61st minute – that after Kolisi had just been held up from an attacking maul – but that was then cancelled out by a Dan Pryor try to make it 36-14 to the hosts.

Again, the DHL Stormers came firing back, as they sniffed a potential four-try bonus point and perhaps even a losing bonus, and captain De Jongh scored his second try from a scintillating Cheslin Kolbe break, Louis Schreuder doing well in support as he found De Jongh on the goalline.

The Highlanders, however, kept the DHL Stormers pinned in their 22 from the restart – with just four minutes remaining on the clock at Forsyth Barr Stadium – and they could not break out in search of that fourth try.

The match then ended with a Highlanders penalty goal – by replacement Marty Banks – as the DHL Stormers were unable to celebrate Burger’s 100th match in style.

The DHL Stormers will return to Queenstown on Sunday – their base for the past few days – before making their way to Wellington next Thursday ahead of their meeting with the unbeaten Hurricanes the following day.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Tries: A Smith, Naholo 2, Osborne, Pryor
Cons: Sopoaga 4
Pens: Sopoaga, Banks

For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: De Jongh 2, Rhodes
Cons: Catrakilis, Coleman 2

The teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Pingi Tala’apitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger (vice-captain), 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

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100-up for ‘warrior’ Burger http://thestormers.com/100-up-for-warrior-burger/ http://thestormers.com/100-up-for-warrior-burger/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:37:56 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8599 Burger will make his first start of 2015, having featured off the bench twice thus far, and follows in the footsteps of Andries Bekker, Jean de Villiers and Peter Grant – all of whom have also played 100 games or more for the DHL Stormers.

Bekker and Grant finished their DHL Stormers careers in 2013 and 2014, respectively, on 104 appearances, whilst De Villiers has played 105 games – meaning that Burger could go on to become the most-capped DHL Stormers player of all time this season.

The two-times SA Rugby Player of the Year will become the 34th overall Vodacom Super Rugby South African centurion, with DHL Stormers squad captain Duane Vermeulen having recently joined the club (with 80 Stormers appearances and 20 for the Cheetahs) and Bryan Habana passing the 100-game mark with 61 games for the Bulls and a further 57 for the DHL Stormers.

Thirty-one-year-old Burger, who made a remarkable recovery from serious injury and illness at the end of 2013 after 18 months on the sidelines, made his DHL Stormers debut against the Waratahs at DHL Newlands on March 13, 2004 (see above).

Burger made his Test debut a couple of months earlier, at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, making him one of just 22 Springboks who played Test rugby before featuring at Super Rugby level.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AHEAD OF SCHALF BURGER’S 100TH DHL STORMERS GAME:

DHL STORMERS COACH ALLISTER COETZEE:
“I don’t think people realise exactly what Schalk went through in 2012 and 2013, first with his knee injury and then his illness. He is the ultimate warrior and just to get back into the game after his setbacks, never mind what he has achieved since then, speaks volumes about the man’s character as does his recent nomination for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.”

SPRINGBOK CAPTAIN JEAN DE VILLIERS:
“Schalk’s rugby achievements speak for themselves. It’s an honour to have played alongside him for so long and to call this man my friend. I wish I could have been there alongside him and celebrating his 100th match this week, but I wish him and the team well in Dunedin on Saturday… I will be watching and willing the guys on from home!”

DHL STORMERS TEAMMATE SIYA KOLISI:
“For me, as always, it will be an honour and a privilege playing alongside the legend that is Schalk Burger (on Saturday). Everyone knows that he’s been my hero since I was young and to be sharing this moment with him is beyond my wildest dreams. We all want to do our best and win this one for him, but Schalk, typically, doesn’t want us to make a fuss about him or to lose to any focus. But we all know how special he is for WP Rugby and how great he’s been for the DHL Stormers since 2004… He really is a warrior, having fought some big battles on and off the field and we, as players, would love to make it a special landmark for him.”

SCHALK BURGER FACTFILE:

Date and place of birth: April 13, 1983 in Port Elizabeth
Height: 1,93m
Weight: 110kg
DHL Stormers debut: v Waratahs, March 13, 2004
DHL Western Province caps: 37 (debut v Mighty Elephants – March 21, 2003)
Springbok Test caps: 75 (debut v Georgia – September 24, 2003)

THE FULL LIST OF SOUTH AFRICAN VODACOM SUPER RUGBY CENTURIONS:
(ACTIVE PLAYERS IN BOLD)

143: Victor Matfield (Cats 8, Bulls 135)
137: Jannie du Plessis (Cheetahs 26, Sharks 111)
125: AJ Venter (Cats 19, Sharks 96, DHL Stormers 10), John Smit (Sharks)
123: Morné Steyn (Bulls)
122: Stefan Terblanche (Sharks)
125: Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
118: Bryan Habana (Bulls 61, DHL Stormers 57)
117: Odwa Ndungane (Bulls 10, Sharks 107)
116: Danie Rossouw (Bulls)
115: Jacques Botes (Sharks), JP Pietersen (Sharks)
113: Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls), Adi Jacobs (Bulls 21, Cats 4, Sharks 88)
112: Fourie du Preez (Bulls)
110: Wynand Olivier (Bulls), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls 13, Cheetahs 97)
109: Werner Kruger (Bulls)
108: Ollie le Roux (Natal 24, Sharks 60, Cats 3, Cheetahs 21), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs 61, Sharks 47), Akona Ndungane (Bulls), Pierre Spies (Bulls)
105: Jean de Villiers (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Keegan Daniel (Sharks)
104: Andries Bekker (DHL Stormers), Jano Vermaak (Cats 11, Lions 62, Bulls 31), Peter Grant (DHL Stormers), Willem Alberts (Lions 37, Sharks 67)
103: Duane Vermeulen (Cheetahs 20, DHL Stormers 83)
102: Albert van den Berg (Cats 7, Sharks 95)
101: Ryan Kankowski (Sharks)
100: Bakkies Botha (Bulls)
99: Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers)

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De Jongh leads DHL Stormers in Burger’s 100th http://thestormers.com/de-jongh-leads-dhl-stormers-in-burgers-100th/ http://thestormers.com/de-jongh-leads-dhl-stormers-in-burgers-100th/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:41:36 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8590 De Jongh takes over the leadership reins from No.8 Duane Vermeulen, who is being rested as per the franchise agreement with SA Rugby, whilst Schalk Burger comes in for his first start of 2015 and will take over the vice-captaincy.

Aside from backing up De Jongh in the leadership department, Burger will also be making his 100th appearance in a DHL Stormers jersey – having made his debut against the Waratahs in Cape Town on March 13, 2004.

The 31-year-old Springbok star joins Andries Bekker (2013) and Jean de Villiers and Peter Grant (both 2014) in reaching this impressive landmark for the Men from the Cape and DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee paid tribute to the team’s “ultimate warrior”.

“I don’t think people realise exactly what Schalk went through in 2012 and 2013, first with his knee injury and then his illness,” Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com.

“He is the ultimate warrior and just to get back into the game after his setbacks, never mind what he has achieved since then, speaks volumes about the man’s character as does his recent nomination for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

“Schalk, of course, is a true Western Province man. He is popular in this team, with a lot of players looking up to him, and he means a lot to us all. The opposition are also hugely respectful of Schalk – both on and off the field – which also shows just what an impression he has made on the game during his career.”

In other changes to the team – from the line-up that did duty against the Chiefs two weeks ago – Nic Groom and Demetri Catrakilis will link up once again at halfback, whilst the loose trio has been reshuffled in the absence of Vermeulen with Nizaam Carr packing down at No.8, Burger lining up at No.7 and Siya Kolisi shifting across to No.6.

On the bench, meanwhile, hooker Bongi Mbonambi (for Neil Rautenbach), prop Oli Kebble (for Ali Vermaak), lock Eben Etzebeth (for Ruan Botha) and flanker Mike Rhodes (for Burger) all come on to the bench with Louis Schreuder and Kurt Coleman swapping places with Groom and Catrakilis, respectively.

Coetzee explained the thinking behind Etzebeth’s return via the bench, adding: “We think it’s better to ease Eben back, but, also, a guy like Jean Kleyn has done very well this season and he deserves to start.

“We will make changes (during the game) as and when we see the need (as the starting players tire or show fatigue), but, either way, we’re lucky to be able to call upon the likes of Eben, Bongi Mbonambi, Oli Kebble, Frans Malherbe and Mike Rhodes as forward replacements.”

The DHL Stormers team to face the Highlanders (away) is as follows:

15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (captain)
12. Damian de Allende
11. Dillyn Leyds
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Nizaam Carr
7. Schalk Burger (100th cap for DHL Stormers – vice-captain)
6. Siya Kolisi
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Jean Kleyn
3. Vincent Koch
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Oli Kebble
18. Frans Malherbe
19. Eben Etzebeth
20. Michael Rhodes
21. Louis Schreuder
22. Kurt Coleman
23. Huw Jones

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

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Out & about in Queenstown – 1 http://thestormers.com/out-about-in-queenstown/ http://thestormers.com/out-about-in-queenstown/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 07:12:19 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8585 The DHL Stormers will travel to Dunedin on Friday for their clash against the Highlanders on Saturday morning (SA time).

The team, to face the Highlanders, will be announced on Thursday morning (SA time) after the final team run.

Something about a beautiful view and being in Queenstown #touristpost A photo posted by Dillyn Leyds (@dill_l8s) on

Off day selfie #minigolf #ferburger #luge #theboys #dhlstormers #queenstown A photo posted by kobus (@kobus_12) on

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2015 tour update: Settling in well http://thestormers.com/2015-tour-update-settling-in-well/ http://thestormers.com/2015-tour-update-settling-in-well/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:25:34 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8581 The touring party arrived in Queenstown (their base for this week) on Monday morning (NZ time) and they had two training sessions on Tuesday – a full session and a split one – before settling in in front of the television to watch the Proteas in their Cricket World Cup semifinal.

Said Coetzee: “We would love to start the tour on a good note as we did in 2012 (against the Highlanders) as it gave us momentum and the necessary belief to get more results away from home.

“We have a good understanding of what we need to do against the Highlanders on Saturday, but we know they’re a good team that does a lot right which puts their opposition under pressure.”

Twenty-six players are available for selection this week – captain Duane Vermeulen is sitting out as part of the agreement with SA Rugby to rest the top Springboks at some point – with the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Mike Rhodes and Louis Schreuder all training well.

“Everyone is looking good,” commented Coetzee, “Eben and Mike trained flat-out and Louis passed all his concussion tests before the touring party left South Africa on Saturday.

“We have some options at loose forward, with Duane being rested, but we have a few days to mull over that before announcing our team.”

The DHL Stormers team, to face the Highlanders on Saturday, will be announced on Thursday morning (SA time).

Saturday’s match, at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, will get underway at 19h35 NZ time which is 08h35 SA time.

“We’ve played at the stadium before and have good memories (from 2012),” said Coetzee. “Hopefully we can emulate that result and start our tour on a good note.”

What a setting for our 1st training session on tour #queenstown #superrugbytravels

A photo posted by Wayne Hector (@whector) on

What a beautiful morning and scenery to wake up to. #blessed #pinkskies

A photo posted by Duane Vermeulen (@customs08) on

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Hello from Queenstown! http://thestormers.com/hello-from-queenstown/ http://thestormers.com/hello-from-queenstown/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:39:04 +0000 http://thestormers.com/?p=8577 According to DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee things are going well on tour, after leaving Cape Town on Saturday afternoon and arriving in Queenstown on Monday morning local time.

They flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg on Saturday and then on to Sydney and Auckland, where they had an overnight stay before catching an early (Monday morning) flight to their current base.

Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website on Monday morning (SA time): “It was a long trip and a tiring one, but we’re here and the players have already had a flush-out session in the gym (with some swimming and weights training) before what should be a good night’s rest!

“The second day is always a challenge, after such a long travel schedule, but we have taken all the possible precautionary steps up until now to keep the travel fatigue at bay.”

The DHL Stormers will train and prepare in Queenstown all week before taking a bus to Dunedin on Friday ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Forsyth Barr Stadium (kick-off 19h35 NZ time; 08h35 SA time).

“We have some very pleasant memories of staying in Queenstown,” said Coetzee, referring to their previous visit in 2012 which saw them record a 21-6 win over the Highlanders later that week.

“Not only is Queenstown beautiful but our training and gym facilities are in walking distance from the hotel and being out of the public eye a bit allows us to work hard and focus on the job at hand.

“We will be working hard this week but staying in a great place like this means the guys can enjoy each other’s company and their surroundings while working hard.”

Whilst rugby is obviously the sole focus for the DHL Stormers squad, once training is done tomorrow their attention will turn to Auckland’s Eden Park where the Proteas will be in action against New Zealand’s Black Caps in their 2015 Cricket World Cup semifinal.

Said Coetzee: “Tomorrow is Protea Day! We will be right behind the Proteas team once our training is done.

“We will be watching the game on TV and supporting the guys by having an in-house dress-up competition and willing the Proteas on to go all the way!”

AN INSTA-VIEW OF THE DHL STORMERS’ TOUR THUS FAR:

Largo viaje a Queenstown, llegamos y valió la pena

A photo posted by Manuel Carizza (@manuchocarizza) on

This place is really beautiful #Queenstown#tourvibes#showyourstripes#allin @adidas @adidasrugby_ @adidasoriginals A photo posted by Siya Kolisi (@siya_kolisi_the_bear) on

#Sleepspecs need to do their job on the way to #Sydney. @greghechter @dhlstormers #rugby

A photo posted by Steph du Toit (@stephdutoit77) on

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