Family environment key for DHL Stormers

PUBLISHED: March 2, 2015

Powerhouse DHL Stormers wing Kobus van Wyk says the team’s family environment and effective pre-season has allowed a young squad to secure an impressive start to the season.

The DHL Stormers boast a squad with a good blend of experience and youth.

Whilst the senior players have played their role in guiding the team in the right direction, the younger players’ ability to make an impact at Vodacom Super Rugby level has added a valuable contribution to the Cape side’s unbeaten start to the tournament.

The Stormers have gone on to beat the Bulls, Blues and Lions after the opening three rounds to lead the South African conference standings and claim second position on the overall log.

Van Wyk, despite not having featured as yet due to injury, credited the Stormers’ development structures for this.

“Yes, there are many young players in the DHL Stormers squad, but the fact that we have played together in the system for a long time has allowed us to adapt at senior level,” Van Wyk told the MyPlayers.co.za website.

“Many of the younger guys have played alongside each other in the Western Province U21 and U19 teams before, so we know each other very well. We also have great experienced players in leadership positions, and they play a key role by giving us advice and leading from the front.

“The coaches also show a lot of faith in us, which gives us confidence. This all contributes to an awesome family environment in the team. There’s a great vibe among the players, which makes things easier everyone.”

Van Wyk added that the unbeaten DHL Stormers enjoyed a great pre-season ahead of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

“There’s plenty of confidence in the team as we’ve won three out of three games. But we worked hard for the results, especially during the pre-season to ensure we were in great condition,” he said.

“We spent a lot of time in the (BikePlus) Altitude Chamber, which allowed us to train 3000m above sea level. This prepared us for those tough South African derbies in the highveld.

“It clearly made a difference as we lost 34-10 against the Lions at Ellis Park in our first game last season, which happened to be my Vodacom Super Rugby debut. This year, the boys threw in a massive defensive effort during the closing stages against the Lions to win 22-19 in Johannesburg.”

Van Wyk is currently spending his last several days in rehabilitation and is closing in on a full recovery from a calf injury. He is excited to feature in his second season of Vodacom Super Rugby this year.

“I’m very happy with my progress in the senior squad over the past year. The coaches believed I would make a strong impact at wing because of my pace and physicality, and although I’m a specialist centre, I’m enjoying life at wing,” said Van Wyk.

“(Backline coach) Robbie Fleck told me he also started his senior career at wing before he established himself at centre, so maybe I will make the switch back to the midfield one day. But for now, I’m happy to play my part for the team at wing.”

With the No.14 jersey on his back Van Wyk has been compared to a famous speedster in former Springbok and Stormers legend Pieter Rossouw, more affectionately known in the Cape as ‘Slaptjips’.

“Wow! What an honour! If the fans are calling me the next ‘Slaptjips’, that makes me very proud. I hope I can make the same impact for the Stormers as he did during his career,” said Van Wyk.