A group of contracted Western Province Rugby players have begun with pre-season training at the High Performance Centre in Bellville, as the DHL Stormers and DHL WP kick-off their preparations for the 2014 season.
Back Cheslin Kolbe, who is currently on SA Sevens duty, and flanker Schalk Burger, who will play for the Barbarians in London this weekend, will join the WP Rugby training squad at a later stage.
Springbok tourists Jean de Villiers, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen and Gio Aplon will join the squad in January 2014 only. However, hooker Scarra Ntubeni, flanker Siya Kolisi and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder – all of whom also toured Europe with the Boks this month – will join squad training on Monday, December 2.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee explained: “All the players currently training at the HPC are contracted to WP Rugby. Next year the squad will be divided up into a DHL Stormers group and a DHL Western Province (Vodacom Cup) group and there will be a camp in Hermanus in mid-January for the streamlined Super Rugby training squad.
“We look forward to welcoming talented schoolboys like JD Schickerling, Jacques Vermeulen, Rickus Bothma, Justin Phillips, Jarryd Sage, (centre) Daniel du Plessis, Grant Hermanus (who will still be at school next year) and EW Viljoen into the fold over the next two weeks and also someone like (flyhalf) Ryno Eksteen, from the 2013 WPRI intake, as part of our bigger, contracted core of players here at Western Province.
“There’s also a group of WP Under-21 players who are moving into the senior ranks in 2014 in our enlarged training group. This way we are able to look at all the players available to us next year.”
The WP Rugby training squad will have a break over the Festive Season. The players’ last day of training will be on Friday, December 20, before they reconvene ahead of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season on Tuesday, January 7 of next year.
* Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that next year’s Boland v DHL Stormers friendly – an annual clash – will take place at Wellington’s Boland Stadium on Saturday, February 15 (2014).
Ticket prices, curtain-raisers and kick-off times will be confirmed in due course by the Boland Rugby Union, but tickets will go on sale – also via Boland Rugby – from January 13 of next year.
THE 2014 WP RUGBY CONTRACTED TRAINING SQUAD:
Damian de Allende
Juan de Jongh
Carel du Preez
De Kock Steenkamp
Gary van Aswegen
Chevandre van Schoor
Michael van der Spuy
Jurie van Vuuren
Kobus van Wyk
WP Rugby Institute players invited to squad training:
Daniel du Plessis
Other players (to join up at the HPC at a later stage):
Jean de Villiers
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, Boland Stadium (Wellington) – kick-off TBC