The DHL Stormers have announced a 27-man squad for their upcoming tour of Australasia, which will see them take on the Highlanders, the Hurricanes, the Waratahs and the Force on their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby away trip.
Captain Duane Vermeulen will lead a squad with no selection surprises and a playing group which includes hooker Bongi Mbonambi, prop Oli Kebble, lock Eben Etzebeth, flank Mike Rhodes and wing Johnny Kotze – all of whom did not play against the Chiefs at the weekend.
The only players unavailable because of injury are hard-working flanker Rynhardt Elstadt (broken leg – suffered against the Blues in Round Two) and utility back Jaco Taute (knee), with DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee rightfully rewarding those players who have served the team so well thus far in 2015.
The DHL Stormers currently head up the SA Conference with 16 points from five matches, whilst they are in third position on the overall log – having lost just once in five fixtures (two at home, three away).
Coach Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “Our loss to the Chiefs was obviously a disappointing one for us, but it’s up to us to bounce back on tour.
“I always say it, but there is not an easy match in Vodacom Super Rugby and it certainly doesn’t get any easier away from home against quality outfits like the Highlanders, Hurricanes, the defending champion Waratahs and the Force.
“That said, we’re a team that enjoys touring. We’re a close squad and even though we have a lot of first-time (Super Rugby) tourists in the group, our strong leadership team will give those new players the necessary guidance and support throughout.”
The DHL Stormers will depart for New Zealand – from Cape Town and via Johannesburg and Sydney – on Saturday afternoon. They will arrive in Queenstown on the morning of March 23 (NZ time).
2015 DHL STORMERS TOURING SQUAD (27):
Ruan Botha – Lock
Schalk Burger – Loose forward
Manuel Carizza – Lock
Nizaam Carr – Loose forward
Demetri Catrakilis – Flyhalf
Kurt Coleman – Flyhalf
Damian de Allende – Centre
Juan de Jongh – Centre (vice-captain)
Eben Etzebeth – Lock
Nic Groom – Scrumhalf
Huw Jones – Centre/wing
Oli Kebble – Loosehead prop
Steven Kitshoff – Loosehead prop
Jean Kleyn – Lock
Vincent Koch – Tighthead prop
Cheslin Kolbe – Fullback/wing
Siya Kolisi – Loose forward
Johnny Kotze – Wing/centre
Dillyn Leyds – Wing/fullback/flyhalf
Frans Malherbe – Tighthead prop
Bongi Mbonambi – Hooker
Scarra Ntubeni – Hooker
Michael Rhodes – Flank/lock
Louis Schreuder – Scrumhalf
Kobus van Wyk – Wing/centre
Alistair Vermaak – Loosehead prop
Duane Vermeulen – No.8 (captain)