DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has announced a powerful line-up for Friday night’s friendly clash against the Cheetahs at DHL Newlands (kick-off 19h00).
As expected, Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will start in his first match of 2015, his first appearance in a DHL Stormers jersey since 2013, whilst talented youngster Huw Jones gets a run at inside centre – his first start for the DHL Stormers – after Damian de Allende was ruled out with a slight quadriceps tear.
“It’s a slight tear, so we could’ve pushed Damian if, say, we were playing in a final,” Coetzee told the official DHL Stormers website. “It’s not serious, but we didn’t want to risk him at this stage of our pre-season preparations.”
Demetri Catrakilis, after missing last weekend’s trip to George with a stomach ailment, will start at flyhalf, whilst Absa Currie Cup-winning lock Jean Kleyn has been named amongst the replacements after recovering from a knee (meniscus) injury which delayed his start to his team’s pre-season programme.
Inside centre/fullback Jaco Taute went for a basic scope (on his knee) yesterday and will be out of action for four to six weeks.
The injury is not considered to be of a serious nature (“basic wear and tear,” according to Coetzee), but his lay-off has given an opportunity to last year’s DHL WP Under-21 star, Johnny Kotze, who has been named on the bench to face the Cheetahs.
Tickets are available at just R30 for Friday’s encounter between the DHL Stormers and the Cheetahs and can be purchased ONLINE or from Computicket outlets and Shoprite and Checkers stores. (Spectators are encouraged to purchase their tickets before matchday to avoid any disappointment on Friday evening.)
“This is our best possible team for this weekend,” said Coetzee, looking ahead to his team’s first home game of 2015.
“I know the Cheetahs have had a game against the Bulls and they will view this as another preparation game ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
“In order to get match sharp you need to play against other Super Rugby franchises and this week – after playing against SWD in George – brings with it different challenges, especially on defence against a team like the Cheetahs who like to play with width and have a good passing game.
“They have a good line-out maul and a lot of tricks up their sleeve with their attacking kicking game and they have an attacking mindset. Overall, it will be a good game – a good challenge and a good work-out for us.”
The DHL Stormers beat the SWD Eagles by 34-3 last weekend and will conclude their pre-season preparations against the Boland Cavaliers next weekend (Saturday, February 7).
“Last week’s game was important to get that first proper hit-out, (that first) contact session out of the way. This week we need to be sharper and concentrate on our detail more. We need to cut out those errors, do the basics right and show a big improvement across the board.
“The Boland game will give us an opportunity to – hopefully – bring back the likes of Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr… or to give Jean Kleyn more (game) time and to bring our entire squad up to speed,” explained Coetzee.
* Meanwhile, coach Coetzee also cleared up any recent media speculation over Mat Turner, the England Sevens ace who is back in Cape Town and currently training with the squad.
Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website: “Mat is back in Cape Town, now that his Sevens commitments are a thing of the past.
“He asked if he could join us at training and we said yes – we certainly won’t chase him away. There is no commitment from our side and he has not been offered a contract, he just wants to keep fit and train at this stage.
“There are a lot of other players in the system we would need to give opportunities to first and Mat understands that. We will see how it goes and if he should warrant selection he would need to move via the proper structures – through the Vodacom Cup or the club system (for instance).”
The DHL Stormers team to face the Cheetahs is as follows:
15. Cheslin Kolbe
14. Kobus van Wyk
13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain)
12. Huw Jones
11. Dillyn Leyds
10. Demetri Catrakilis
9. Nic Groom
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain)
7. Michael Rhodes
6. Rynhardt Elstadt
5. Manuel Carizza
4. Eben Etzebeth
3. Vincent Koch
2. Scarra Ntubeni
1. Steven Kitshoff
16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Alistair Vermaak
18. Wilco Louw
19. Jurie van Vuuren
20. Jean Kleyn
21. Neil Rautenbach
22. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
23. Louis Schreuder
24. Kurt Coleman
25. Johnny Kotze
26. Robert du Preez
27. EW Viljoen
Referee: Jaco van Heerden