The Vodacom Stormers will be playing their first warm-up match against the Bulls at Newlands on January 21.
New Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe said this will be one of only two warm-up games next season.
“With the Super 14 expanded and the extra travelling, we felt it would be better to play only two games as opposed to the three in previous years.
“The first one is on January 21 against the Bulls at Newlands. Then we are also busy negotiating with the Southeastern Cape regional team for a match on January 28 at Wellington,” said the man who takes over from Gert Smal.
“They must still confirm, but we have penciled the match in anyway. If they cannot play, we will play against Boland.”
The Vodacom Stormers started their preparation last Monday at their new training facility in Bellville. “Without the Boks, we have a training squad of 38 guys at the moment – including the injured players,” said Van der Merwe.
He said two of the Investec WP Springboks who missed the current Bok tour of Europe and Argentina, Joe van Niekerk and Marius Joubert, are currently training with the Super 14 squad
“They only take part in certain aspects of the training, as they are still busy with rehabilitation after their injuries.
“Marius should be ready to start running in the middle of December. Joe doesn’t do the gym work at the moment as his hand is still in a cast, but he does a lot of running. Both of them should be ready for the first games.”
Van der Merwe said the squad will be training together at Bellville until 16 December. The players then get two weeks off before they resume their preparation again in early January. The players, however, won’t have a complete break, as they have to continue with their individual programmes.
Click here to read Kobus van der Merwe’s latest column.