New recruit Schalk Brits will be leading the Vodacom Stormers in their first warm-up match for the Super 14 competition, against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Kobus van der Merwe, head coach of the Vodacom Stormers, on Wednesday announced his team, which also includes another new recruit in Naas Olivier at flyhlaf.
Paul Delport, exciting Vodacom WP scrumhalf and SA under-21 captain, will be the inexperienced Viljoen’s halfback partner.
Van der Merwe was quick to point out that despite the absence of several of his Springboks, this was not a second-string side.
“No, I think the guys are all hungry to prove a point. In terms of the selection of this team, we tried to mix a bit of experience with youth and also to get clarity on one or two positions that certain guys are competing for in the squad,” explained the coach.
“I think it is not a bad thing to look at the youngsters in a tough match such as the Bulls and to throw them into the deep end. This gives us an opportunity to see what they can do.”
He added that he doesn’t want to refer to the two Stormers teams – the one takes on the Southern Spears at Wellington next Saturday – as an A- and B-team.
“There is a lot of experience in there – Schalk (Brits) is the captain, Hendrik Gerber… they have all played there and are competing for number one spots. We wanted to keep the Springboks out of a game so earlier, but it is always a catch 22 situation when you play these warm-up games.
“We saw the Cats this weekend picking up three injuries in their first warm-up game. You have to play these games, but the reasoning was to keep the Springboks out another week.
” They are on a different conditioning programme than the rest of the players because they had a lot more rugby towards the end of the season.
“We didn’t want to risk the injury factor. Again, I think it is a nice opportunity for Justin Melck and some of the younger players to make a point.”
The Vodacom Stormers team is as follows:
15. Justin Peach
14. Egon Seconds
13. Piet Van Zyl
12. Gus Theron
11. Tonderai Chavhanga
10. Naas Olivier
9. Paul Delport
8. David Hendricks
7 Justin Melck
6. Hendrik Gerber
5. Gerie Britz
4. Henk Eksteen
3. Attie Winter
2. Schalk Brits (C)
1. Dougie Wheatley
16. Huia Edmonds
17. Tommy Dixon
18. Duimpie Theron
19. Mpho Mbiyozo
20. Charl Blom
21. Jacques Badenhorst / Sarel Potgieter
22. Johan Pietersen.
Match Day Format
17h00 Vodacom Stormers vs Vodacom Bulls
15h30 Vodacom WP Trial Match
15h00 Gates open
Tickets are R20 seated, R10 standing and are unreserved.