Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe proclaimed himself happy with the Super 14 squad that was announced on Monday, but said it was not cast in stone yet.
The coach said players from outside the squad could still force their way into the 30-men squad over the next few weeks. He emphasised that management had to hand in a squad for registration at Sanzar and that players who find themselves in the cold, are not entirely out of the loop.
“Announcing a squad is a difficult thing, but you must bear in mind that it is just that – a squad. It was a matter of releasing 35 names to Sanzar. That squad could change at any given time.
“We decided to give the names of the 35 from which we – at this stage – will select our match 22. You must also remember the other franchises have the right to draft players from us.
“We had to nominate the guys we thought are going to play for us and who we didn’t want to lose through the draft system. Maybe there are players who have a good chance to play for us after the friendly matches,” explained Van der Merwe.
“We will select a squad of 30 after the second friendly against the Spears and will select our 22 for our first Super 14 mach from that 30-men squad.”
Van der Merwe said he was happy with the depth in most positions, although he is a bit concerned about the prop position. He said he included all five locks in the training squad.
“I picked all five locks and even without Rob Linde we have enough depth there. Henk Eksteen (from Boland), in particular, looks very good. I am very happy with the locks, although I am a bit worried about our front-rankers.
“However, we have Dougie Wheatley there, who has arrived from London Irish in the first week of January. He is capable of playing on both sides of the scrum. We will have a look at his progress and give him a chance in the warm-up games.
“Tommie Dixon from Boland is also training with us and we will also have a look at him.”
Van der Merwe sprung a bit of a surprise by including the relatively unknown Naas Olivier at flyhalf with Peter Grant. “We’ve seen him in action and he’s been training with us.
“He is a young flyhalf and he will be a good backup for Peter. He had an excellent Currie Cup last year and is a very good kicker of the ball. Then we obviously also have Werner Greeff to consider at flyhalf.
“He could also do a job for us there. I think between the three of them we could make a good choice there,” said the coach