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Pressure on young Stormers squad

21 December 2011, 17:00

By Jody Hendricks

The Stormers released a packed pre-season calendar of events ahead of the 2012 Super 15 competition. Some mouthwatering clashes await rugby fans in the Mother City with the Cape side playing home games against the Boland, Lions and Sharks as well as an away match against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth.

They've named a pre-season training squad of 53 players. All of them will be involved in the pre-season matches before the squad is trimmed down to 30 players for the Super 15.

This is a fairly young and inexperienced squad compared to previous years. They have lost several key players to overseas clubs and other SA unions. Team management is likely to select  second string sides against Boland and the Kings while experimenting with combinations and fringe players in the Neo Africa Tri-Series.

The weakness in the squad is at Flyhalf and Centre. They don’t have an experienced no 10 and the only recognized flyhalf, Peter Grant is only expected back in the Cape after the doing duty in Japan.

The Stormers are also looking thin in the midfield. They failed to secure a deal with Former Springbok centre Adrian Jacobs and the departure of Jacques Fourie to Japan, Tim Whitehead to the Sharks and Johan Sadie to the Bulls has left them with very little back-up to stalwarts Jean De Villiers and Juan De Jongh.

They have however recruited some new players. Former Springbok prop, Deon Caarstens, Bulls wing Gerhard van der Heever, Fullback Joe Pietersen from France, Flyhalf Burton Frances from the Lions and former Springbok scrumhalf Bolla Conradie, who was instrumental in helping Boland win the Currie Cup first division title last season have all been included. The team will also be boosted by the return of lock Andries Bekker, the tallest player in Springbok history has recovered from a long injury lay-off and is expected to play a vital leadership role in the team. .

The Cape Side will be depending on other experienced players like Bryan Hababa, Gio Aplon, Duane Vermeulen, Captain Schalk Burger, Tiaan Liebenberg and the midfield combo of Jean De Villiers and Juan De Jongh to spearhead their attack. While youngsters like Siya Kolisi, Danie Poolman, Nick Fenton-Wells and Rynhardt Elstadt are expected to make a major impact in the tournament.

The Stormers training squad
Gio Aplon, Reuben Johannes, Donovan Armandt, Rohan Kitshoff, Andries Bekker, Steven Kitshoff , Wicus Blaauw, Berton Klaasen, Tom Botha, Siya Kolisi, Marcel Brache, Nick Koster, Schalk Burger, Adrian Kritzinger, Nizaam Carr, Deon Carstens, Clement Lewis, Demetri Catrakilis, Tiaan Liebenberg, Kurt Coleman, Hilton Lobberts, Bolla Conradie, Frans Malherbe, Juan de Jongh, Scarra Ntubeni, Jean de Villiers, Joe Pietersen, JP du Plessis, Danie Poolman, Dewaldt Duvenage, Quinn Roux, Rynhardt Elstadt, Louis Schreuder, Eben Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp, Nick Fenton-Wells, Tim Swiel, Schalk Ferreira, Ricky Schroeder, Deon Fourie, Gary van Aswegen, Burton Francis, Gerhard van den Heever, Peter Grant, Hein van der Merwe, Nic Groom, Michael van der Spuy, Bryan Habana, Willem van Wyk, Brok Harris, Allister Vermaak, Yaya Hartzenberg, Duane Vermeulen

Pre Season games for the Stormers
21 Jan 2012 Friendly: Boland vs DHL Stormers at Boland Rugby Stadium

27 Jan 2012 Neo Africa Tri-Series: DHL Stormers vs Lions at DHL Newlands

31 Jan 2012 Neo Africa Tri-Series: Lions vs Sharks at DHL Newlands

04 Feb 2012 Neo Africa Tri-Series: DHL Stormers vs Sharks at DHL Newlands

11 Feb 2012 Friendly: EP Kings vs DHL Stormers at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

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