Big Joe excited about Investec Stomers debut

PUBLISHED: February 24, 2005

Joe van Niekerk is writing a new chapter in his glittering rugby career tomorrow night, when he dons the Investec Stormers jersey for the first time in the Super 12 match at Newlands against the Sharks.

The dynamic Springbok No 8 will be one of a trio of Springboks who will be making their Stormers debut. The other two are wing Jean de Villiers and lock Gerrie Britz.

Van Niekerk will be at his favourite No 8 position as part of a dynamic loose-trio with world player of the year Schalk Burger and Luke Watson.

Watson will also be making his Stormers debut after being signed from the Sharks towards the end of last season.

Britz has joined from Free State and fills the spot vacated by Selborne Boome, who now campaigns for Northampton in the English Premiership.

Coach Gert Smal opted for Pieter Dixon as his first-choice hooker, with Springbok back-up Hanyani Shimange on the bench. That means that a fourth Springbok could be making his debut tomorrow night.

Van Niekerk said he was “extremely excited” to be teamed with Watson and Burger.

“Schalk’s record speaks for itself and Luke did very well at the Sharks. I’m really pleased to be in that loose-trio,” he said.