SA Rugby on Thursday confirmed the five local Vodacom Super 14 squads for the 2007 season. The Vodacom Stormers will be led by Luke Watson, with Jean de Villiers as his vice-captain.
The popular international tournament starts next Friday, a week earlier than usual because of the Rugby World Cup tournament in France later in the season.
Andy Marinos, Manager of National Teams at SA Rugby, said more local players were able to gain valuable experience as a result of the expanded format introduced in 2006.
“We are looking forward to another challenging and competitive Vodacom Super 14 campaign. Our teams have prepared well for the tournament and with the World Cup in mind, you can bet the players will use the opportunity to impress the national selectors,” said Marinos.
Peter Jooste, convenor of the national selectors, said he was very pleased with and extremely encouraged by the close cooperation between the Vodacom Super 14 coaches and the National Teams Department.
“I am confident that our common approach will be of great benefit to everyone in this very important World Cup year,” explained Jooste.
The Lions, formerly known as the Cats, will kick-off the South African participation in the competition when they host Australian visitors the Waratahs next Friday evening in Johannesburg. The match at Ellis Park starts at 19h10.
The Lions team has a new coach in Eugene Eloff who took over from Frans Ludeke.
The four remaining SA teams will contest two tough local derbies the following day, Saturday 3 February.
The Sharks welcome the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Durban while the Vodacom sponsored Cheetahs and Stormers will clash in the evening match in Bloemfontein.
The confirmed Vodacom Super 14 squads for 2007 are:
VODACOM STORMERS Eddie Andrews, Gio Aplon, De Wet Barry, Andries Bekker, Selborne Boome, Gerrie Britz, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Bolla Conradie, Jean De Villiers, Dylan Des Fountain, Robbie Diack, Huia Edmonds, Schalk Ferreira, Peter Grant, Brock Harris, Conrad Jantjes, JP Joubert, Tiaan Liebenberg, Justin Melck, JD Moller, Naas Olivier, Breyton Paulse, Joe Pietersen, Brent Russell, Ross Skeate, Egon Seconds, Corne Uys, Joe van Niekerk, Luke Watson.
Tonderai Chavhanga, Chumani Booi (injured), Peter Louw, Francois van der Merwe.
VODACOM BULLS (players in alphabetical order):
Heini Adams, Gary Botha, Marius Delport, Tim Dlulane, Fourie du Preez, Jaco Engels, Adriaan Fondse, Bryan Habana, Derick Hougaard, Wayne Julies, Anton Leonard, Hilton Lobberts, John Mametsa, Victor Matfield, Akona Ndungane, JP Nel, Wynand Olivier, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Johan Roets, Danie Rossouw, Wessel Roux, Pierre Spies, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Morné Steyn,Danie Thiart, Wikus van Heerden, Francois van Schouwenburg, Pedrie Wannenburg, Frikkie Welsh.
Stefan Basson (Springbok Sevens), Danwel Demas (injured).
Meyer Bosman, Philip Burger, Michael Claassens, Ronnie Cooke, Wian du Preez, Jannie du Plessis, Rory Duncan, Willem de Waal, Kabamba Floors, Bevin Fortuin, Eddie Fredericks, Alwyn Hollenbach, Marius Joubert, Herkie Kruger, Ollie le Roux, Tiger Mangweni, Jonathan Mokuena, Falie Oelschig, Barend Pieterse, Gavin Passens, Adriaan Strauss, Richardt Strauss, Hendro Scholtz, Juan Smith, CJ van der Linde, Corniel van Zyl, Darren Nell, Rayno van der Merwe, Zane Kirchner, Rayno Benjamin.
Os du Randt (injured), Barry Goodes (injured).
Willem Alberts, Jannie Boshoff, Ashton Constant, Jacques Cronje, Jaque Fourie, Gordon Gilfillan, Cobus Grobbelaar, Cobus Grobler, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Doppies la Grange,Colin Lloyd, Louis Ludik, Kenny McKenzie, Brian Mujati, André Pretorius, Jaco Pretorius, Ethienne Reyneck, Earl Rose, Lawrence Sephaka, Bertus Smit, Louis Strydom, Solly Tybilika, Franco van der Merwe, Heinke van der Merwe, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Anton van Zyl, Janol Vermaak, Willie Wepener, Ashwin Willemse.
Bradley Barritt, Skipper Badenhorst, Gcobani Bobo, Jacques Botes, Brendan Botha. Warren Britz, Deon Carstens, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Adrian Jacobs, Ryan Kankowski, Rory Kockott, Kees Lensing, Heno Mentz, Cedric Mkhize, Percy Montgomery, Johann Muller, Waylon Murray, Odwa Ndungane, Dusty Noble, Sandile Nxumalo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Bob Skinstad, John Smit, Francois Steyn, Andries Strauss, Steven Sykes, Albert van den Berg, AJ Venter.
Johan Ackerman, Craig Burden, Grant Rees, Scott Mathie (injured), Howard Noble (Springbok Sevens).