A 39-man DHL Stormers squad will depart for Hermanus on Tuesday afternoon for a four-day training camp ahead of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
Scarra Ntubeni, Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen, Nizaam Carr and Damian de Allende – all of whom toured with the Springboks at the end of last year – will all travel to Hermanus, along with capped Springboks, Siya Kolisi, Juan de Jongh and Jaco Taute.
Props Wilco Louw and Frans van Wyk, both of whom are still eligible for the DHL Western Province Under-21 team, are amongst the new faces in the squad, joining flyhalf Robert du Preez, centres Johnny Kotze and Huw Jones and fullback EW Viljoen as the other newbies in the selection mix.
Du Preez, Kotze, Jones and Viljoen are all graduates of the DHL WP Under-21 set-up from 2014, along with hooker Michael Willemse, lock Jurie van Vuuren and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, all of whom had a brief taste of Super Rugby action in 2014.
National skipper Jean de Villiers is on the long-term injury list, whilst experienced loose forward Schalk Burger will join up with the DHL Stormers squad at the conclusion of his commitments in Japan next month.
Prop Frans Malherbe (ankle) and locks Jean Kleyn (meniscus) and Ruan Botha (ankle) are the only players not training flat-out at the moment. However, all three are on track with their rehabilitation from injuries suffered last year.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee commented: “The coaches reported for duty last Tuesday and our players came back on (the) Wednesday – all hungry and determined to put their best foot forward from the start.
“We have a young squad, as you can see with seven players graduating from the Under-21 team and going straight into the DHL Stormers squad and (props) Wilco Louw (a new signing) and Frans van Wyk (from the Under-19 team) both still being Under-21.
“You could sense even more energy at training today and I look forward to seeing the players take it up a notch in Hermanus and then as we build up towards our three pre-season friendlies.”
The DHL Stormers will head to Hermanus for the fifth year in a row, ahead of their three pre-season friendlies between January 24 and February 7 against SWD, the Cheetahs and the Boland Cavaliers, respectively. Those exact dates, kick-off times and venues will be confirmed later this week.
The DHL Stormers will open their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, February 14. Their first home game is against the Blues, at DHL Newlands, on Saturday, February 21. (CLICK HERE for season ticket information!)
THE 2015 DHL STORMERS PRE-SEASON SQUAD FOR HERMANUS CAMP (39):
Damian de Allende
Juan de Jongh
Robert du Preez
Jurie van Vuuren
Frans van Wyk
Kobus van Wyk