- Stormers lock Salmaan Moerat hopes for at least 50 percent crowds for the British and Irish Lions tour.
- The tour will take place in South Africa and the Stormers will be the first South African franchise to play against the tourists.
- The Stormers will be hosting the Lions at the Cape Town Stadium in a preparation series game on Saturday.
Stormers lock and captain Salmaan Moerat may not be a Springbok probable, but even he’s salivating at the prospect of a British and Irish Lions tour finally taking place in South Africa.
Moerat, who will be captaining the Stormers in their preparation series game against the Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, hoped there will be at least 50 percent crowds allowed into the stadiums.
As things stand, the Stormers will be the first South African franchise to front up against the Lions on 3 July at the Cape Town Stadium.
The 23-year-old Moerat was not yet born when Martin Johnson's tourists got the best of Gary Teichmann's Springboks and was 11 years old when John Smit's charges reversed the 1997 result over Paul O'Connell's unit.
"It’s a massive occasion for the country and an equally big one for the players. As a young player, you aspire to be part of that someday, so I’m pretty sure I can speak for most players in the country right now. It would definitely be an aspiration for them and from my perspective, it's massive that the tour is taking place in the country," Moerat said.
"I hope we are able to get at least 50 percent of the capacity of the stadium. Crowds are also what Lions tours are known for, so it’s a massively exciting prospect that we’re facing."
In their quest to find their best flyhalf, the Stormers will be starting with Abner van Reenen at flyhalf ahead of Kade Wolhuter.
These experiments, while necessary to blood depth in a critical position like flyhalf, are all good and well.
However, they also put into perspective how the talented Damian Willemse may struggle to get a foothold at 10 once Warrick Gelant recovers.
Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman, who has been given the head coach reins for this game, said they need to test as much depth as possible and there will be something to gain from giving Van Reenen and Wolhuter as much game time as possible.
"Abner’s been training very well over the past couple of months, so we want to see how he goes. He’s got a wonderful opportunity to see what he can do. He has been training well and having put in the extra effort, we wanted to use this game and the series as well to give exposure to everyone. It will be his chance tomorrow and for everyone around him," Snyman said.
"Kade has shown a lot of potential and we’re really happy with how he has gone. He’s got a lot of confidence, even though he is young. You can see he has direction and demands what he wants on the field. That's a great sign from a player of that age and I’ve felt he’s grown well in the past three games he’s played in. During that short period, he has become better, his performance against the Bulls was spot and he’s willing to learn."
While the Stormers pretty much have their forward ducks in a row for a while, they haven’t come close to solving their midfield conundrum. Dan du Plessis will be partnered by Ruhan Nel, a combination Snyman thinks is close to the best they have.
"We are close to finding that combination at this stage. We know what we have in our guys and Dan is getting a run because he hasn’t played in this series. We wanted to give Ruhan a lot of game time because he was injured for the bulk of the Currie Cup. We’re settled now and we need to build a squad where guys can slot in from a rotational perspective," Snyman said.
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouché, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak
Substitutes (from): 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Kade Wolhuter, 23 Lyle Hendricks, 24 Chad Solomon, 25 Cornel Smit
15 EW Viljoen, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Ross Crone, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer
Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 17 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 MJ Pelser, 20 Morne van den Berg, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Burger Odendaal