A young and experimental DHL Stormers side showed plenty of guts in their pre-season friendly against the Boland Cavaliers on Saturday, despite going down 24-29 at the Boland Stadium.
The older and more experienced Bolanders led 24-7 at half-time and scored their fourth try in the second half but the young men in the DHL Stormers team showed great determination to outscore their opponents in the second period.
Second-half tries by Rohan Kitshoff, Jarryd Sage and Devon Williams gave the Men from Cape Town hope of securing a victory against all odds in trying conditions in Wellington – the temperature having hovered around the 40-degree mark for most of the day.
Flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe had earlier scored his team’s only try in the first half and the young loose forward was one of many new faces putting their hands up, the matchday squad having contained four players from the Western Province Rugby Institute (all of whom were still at school in 2013).
EW Viljoen, one of the four WPRI players in the mix, showed great touches from the fullback position, whilst replacement centre Sage (a WP Craven Week standout last year) scored with virtually his first touch in a DHL Stormers jersey.
Speedster Williams’s try in the 71st minute was a brilliant individual effort and had the lively crowd on its feet, whilst replacement lock Tazz Fuzani impressed with his physicality on defence when he came on shortly before half-time – his big hits and presence aiding the young Stormers as they clawed their way back into the clash.
The match ended with the Stormers camping on the Boland line, before a knock-on from the visiting youngsters saw referee Marius van der Westhuizen signal full-time in a match which would have left coach Allister Coetzee smiling with the performance of the greenhorns in his squad.
“Credit to Boland, they played well,” said Coetzee afterwards.
“We achieved what we set out to achieve. We needed to give certain players game time and we needed to look at some young players. Four players, who were at school last year, played their first first-class match against a first-class team and I was impressed with all of them.”
For the Boland Cavaliers:
Tries: Williams, Croy, Trytsman, September
Cons: Zana 3
For the DHL Stormers:
Tries: Notshe, R Kitshoff, Sage, Williams
Cons: Van Aswegen, Coleman
Boland Cavaliers: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Danwill Demas, 13 Chesswin Williams, 12 Albert Trytsman, 11 Cheslyn Roberts, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Evan Liedeman, 8 Zandre Jordaan, 7 PJ van Zyl, 6 Franzel September (captain), 5 JC Astle, 4 Hanno Kitshoff, 3 Martin Dreyer, 2 Clemen Lewis, 1 Kwezi Mkafu.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Kotze, 17 Ulrich Pretorius, 18 Rossouw Kruger, 19 Ben Venter, 20 Denzil Adams, 21 Dumisane Meslane, 22 Bradley Ruiters, 23 Juwell Ruiters, 24 Len Olivier, 25 Liam Draycott, 26 Edwinn Sass, 27 Brendon April, 28 Christiaan Rust, 29 Ashton Constant, 30 Jovelian de Koker, 31 Angelo van Niekerk.
DHL Stormers: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Scott van Breda, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Kyle Lombard, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Gary van Aswegen (vice-captain), 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rohan Kitshoff, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg (captain), 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Alistair Vermaak, 17 Stephan Coetzee, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Tazz Fuzani, 20 Carel du Preez, 21 Eital Bredenkamp, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 Kurt Coleman, 24 Bernardo Botha, 25 JP Lewis, 26 Jarryd Sage, 27 Tiger Bax.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen