Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe is happy with the depth in his squad for the Vodacom Super 14.
The Stormers announced their 30-man squad last week and start their campaign with a match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on February 4.
Van der Merwe said he has more depth available than last year and was also happy that he doesn’t have to worry about serious injury problems at this stage.
Scrumhalf Paul Delport will be missing the entire Super 14 competition due to illness, but in his absence Boland number nine JP Joubert made a good impression on the coaching staff.
Wing Tonderai Chavhanga and wing/fullback Chumani Booi are also injured, while Fidjian flyer Sereli Naqalevuki has been suspended for the use of an illegal substance. Van der Merwe, however, is not perturbed by the fact that these three are not available.
“We are glad to have Breyton back, while Conrad Jantjes was the best player on the field in the warm-up game against Boland. Then there is also Egon Seconds, who looks in great form, to provide cover at wing,” commented Van der Merwe.
The Cape regional team indeed is in a healthy position, boasting with the experience and test class of players such as Paulse, Jantjes, Selborne Boome, De Wet Barry, Bolla Conradie, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Burger, Joe van Niekerk, Jean de Villiers and Brent Russell.
There is also the exciting talent of Brok Harris, Corne Uys, Gio Aplon, Schalk Brits, Robbie Diack and captain Luke Watson, who set the Super 14 alight with his great performances last season.
Van der Merwe said it was difficult to trim the squad down to only 30 because of the abundance of talent on offer. Peter Grant, who is at home at inside centre, could for instance be used at flyhalf too, giving competition to Russell and Naas Olivier.
Jantjes is also capable of producing wonderful performances at fullback, as is Paulse, in case the brilliant Aplon gets injured. Joe Pietersen adds even more utility value to the back three, as he is also equally at home at fullback and wing.
Gerrie Britz is another versatile forward, who could play at flank in case of injury or if Van der Merwe needs another lineout option in a specific game.
The Vodacom Stormers squad is:
Eddie Andrews, Schalk Ferreira; Brok Harris, JD Moller
Schalk Brits, Huia Edmonds, Tiaan Liebenberg
Andries Bekker, Selborne Boome, Gerrie Britz, Ross Skeate
Schalk Burger, Robbie Diack, Justin Melck, Joe van Niekerk, Luke Watson
Bolla Conradie, JP Joubert
Naas Olivier, Brent Russell
De Wet Barry, Jean De Villiers, Dylan Des Fountain, Peter Grant, Corne Uys
Breyton Paulse, Joe Pietersen, Egon Seconds
Conrad Jantjes, Gio Aplon,
* Tonderai Chavhanga, Chumani Booi (injured), Pieter Louw, Francois van der Merwe.