Blommetjies, Hartzenberg to make Stormers URC debuts in Stellenbosch

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Suleiman Hartzenberg . (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Suleiman Hartzenberg . (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Stormers coach John Dobson has named his team for their URC opener against Irish outfit Connacht in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

Experienced fullback Clayton Blommetjies and young centre Suleiman Hartzenberg will both make their URC debuts for the Stormers at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Hartzenberg, 19, will line up alongside Dan du Plessis in midfield, while out wide speedster Angelo Davids returns from a stint with the Blitzboks to join Blommetjies and Seabelo Senatla in the back three.

Manie Libbok and Paul de Wet form the starting halfback combination, with Godlen Masimla and Sacha Mngomezulu the two backline reserves.

"We have seen the likes of Clayton, Suleiman and some of the others show some real promise in our pre-season and it will be good to see how they react on Saturday," Dobson said.

Up front, lock Ernst van Rhyn captains the Stormers in the absence of Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff. Van Rhyn forms a second row partnership with Marvin Orie, while experienced props Ali Vermaak and Brok Harris form the front row alongside hooker Andre-Hugo Venter. Venter is the son of former Springbok flank Andre Venter.

Springbok Evan Roos starts at No 8, with Junior Pokomela and Hacjivah Dayimani the flankers.

Like the Springboks, Dobson also opted for six-two forwards-backs split on the bench. The six forward reserves are Kwenzo Blose, Chad Solomon, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Marcel Theunissen and Willie Engelbrecht.

Dobson said they were eager to get their title defence up and running.

"We have got an exciting blend of youth and experience, along with more than a few players who really stepped up for us consistently last season.

"The players can't wait to get going again and we know how important it will be to make a strong start this week, especially as we are playing in a rugby-mad place like Stellenbosch on what should be a great day for it," Dobson said.

Saturday's clash kicks off at 14:30.

Stormers team:

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Brok Harris, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Willie Engelbrecht, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu


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