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
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