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What comes around goes around


So WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield will meet with Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and director of rugby Gert Smal on Monday to discuss the team’s woeful performances in Super Rugby this year.

This is very interesting if you think about it…This is the same Wakefield that with De Klerk and Hoskins decided that Mitchell will not be appointed the Stormers coach after Gert Small wanted him.

This is the same Wakefield that appointed Robbie Fleck as the Stormers coach when Fleck was coaching the U21 and they over looked Dobson for the job.

I am sure that De Klerk is very happy that he convince Wakefield not to appoint Micthell after seeing his Lions side rip the Stormers apart over the weekend.

Wakefield is now unhappy and told Netwerk24 that he will be seeking answers from Fleck and Small.

“We can’t afford empty stands at Newlands. We want to sell suites and tickets and build our support base. And we won’t achieve that with the rugby we’ve been playing.”

Wakefield added that a tough draw and injuries cannot be used as an excuse.

It is a bit think I think that he now wants to ask Gert Small about the state of rugby if the Director of Rugby was not given what he wanted.

It is time that Wakefield gets the boot with all his mate’s

Time will judge Willemse’s capabilities


The Stormers’ skills guru Paul Feeney has coached All Black wing Rieko Ioane so it says something about Damian Willemse’s potential that the Kiwi should describe him as a talent who is as good as anyone he has coached, writes Gavin Rich – SuperSport

Feeney though is not in a rush to join those who are describing Willemse as a great No10 in the making after the 19-year-old’s three good performances in succession against the Highlanders, Blues and Reds, according to the website.

Feeney, who worked as one of the assistant coaches at the Blues before heading to South Africa in late 2016, has just seen too many young flyhalves pushed too young and have too much expected of them not to be wary of doing the same thing with Willemse.

“I coached Gareth Anscombe when he was just 20 and everyone thought he was going to be the next big thing in New Zealand but then when he didn’t push on as quickly as everyone wanted him to they said he was on the scrapheap at the age of 21,” said Feeney.

Anscombe is a good example to use as a player who too much was expected of as a flyhalf while still young. At the age of 26 Anscombe is now playing for Wales, but he might still be in New Zealand had it not been for a perception five years ago that he wasn’t delivering what he was expected to deliver.

Feeney is a big believer in the dictum that it takes time to mature, and he believes that is even more the case at flyhalf, which he sees as a special position.

“Damian is a super talent, he’s one of the most talented players I have ever coached and talent wise he has everything, but No10 is a special position – will he be a Beauden Barrett, a Jonny Wilkinson or a Johnny Sexton?” asked Feeney.

“The No10 isn’t there for flair, he’s there to push the team around the park and be smart. But he has the bonus of having more flair than anyone else.

“So if he can have the same brain as a Sexton, a Wilkinson, a Dan Carter or an Andrew Mehrtens, then he will kill it. We will only know that in time. He is still young. He needs to develop. That is why I am careful of opening the lid too much, of expecting too much. As a No10 you have to be the brains of your team. It’s all about the computer you have in your head. You have to push your team around the park and know when to kick, when to pass, when to run, and that only comes with time.”

In Feeney’s view a player has only properly settled at Super Rugby level after he has played 30 to 40 games. Before that, young or new players are learning and are yet to become completely comfortable.

“You will see once Damian gets to 30 or 40 games whether he has the capabilities to be a great flyhalf,” says Feeney.

“He is definitely a talent. He has much talent as anyone I have ever worked with. Curwin Bosch (of the Sharks) is also a special talent, but with both of them only time will tell how far they will go as flyhalves.”

Bosch is currently playing mainly at fullback for the Sharks. Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck believes the only way to learn to play flyhalf is to play flyhalf, and Feeney agrees that Willemse needs as “much time in the saddle” as he can get. But he is also not completely averse to Willemse playing a few games at fullback like he did at the end of the last Currie Cup season.

“There are similarities between 10 and 15 and the benefit of playing at fullback is that you get a good perspective from the back on what is happening in front of you, you can start assessing for yourself what the good options are and what the bad options are,” said Feeney.

“It is a fairly easy transition between flyhalf and fullback. But I would rather not see him bouncing around between too many positions. The more experience he can get as a flyhalf so much the better.”

Life might get more interesting for Willemse and more comfortable for the Stormers coaches quite soon as Jean-Luc du Plessis, who started off as the first choice Stormers pivot last year but was ruled out by long term injury, is back playing again.

A minor rib injury sustained in his first game back has put the son of former Bok wing and coach Carel out for another week, but Feeney recognises Du Plessis as a big talent who will introduce some competition for Willemse at flyhalf.

“The thing about Damian is that he is very young. You will recall that last year we weren’t keen to push him, and it was only much later in the season, when there were injuries, that we ended up starting him out of necessity. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with playing at flyhalf.”

At least with Du Plessis back in the mix, there won’t be quite as much pressure on Willemse to play in every game and as Du Plessis is a bit older than him Willemse will be able to learn off him. Given Willemse’ current form, however, it is hard to see anyone other than the 2016 South African Schools flyhalf wearing the Stormers No10.

Du Tiot and Wiese back for Stormers


The DHL Stormers will have both lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and flank Cobus Wiese available for their encounter with the Blues at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Du Toit missed the final match on tour against the Highlanders due to illness, having been in doubt after sustaining concussion the previous week against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Wiese also missed the Highlanders match, but has recovered from a shoulder injury to be available for selection against the Blues this week.

Lock Chris van Zyl continues to be monitored after suffering concussion against the Highlanders, while fullback SP Marais will go for scans on Monday to determine the extent of the rib injury he picked up in Dunedin, but is expected to miss the clash with the Blues.

Wing Sergeal Petersen injured his medial cruciate ligament (knee) in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge warm-up match for DHL Western Province against Maties and has been sidelined for four months, along with lock JD Schickerling (pectoral), who successfully underwent surgery last week.

Centres Dan du Plessis (shoulder) and Dan Kriel (foot) and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak (knee) are all available for DHL Western Province in a friendly game against Griquas in Upington on Saturday as they make their return.

Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis (groin), hooker Scarra Ntubeni (hamstring) and props Frans Malherbe (neck) and Ali Vermaak (hamstring) are all back in full training this week as they return from long-term lay-offs. Each of these players will have their progress monitored in order to determine a return-to-play date.

Lock Eben Etzebeth (shoulder) and loose forward Juarno Augustus (back) continue to make good progress in their rehabilitation and their return to play will be determined by their progress going forward.

Wing Seabelo Senatla’s groin continues to be assessed and his load is being carefully managed, with his return-to-play also dependent on his progress.

Moerat join Stormers on tour


Lock Salmaan Moerat will join the DHL Stormers squad for the final match of their tour against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

The 19-year-old flies out as a replacement for JD Schickerling, who has returned to Cape Town after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Pieter-Steph du Toit passed his concussion test after taking a knock to the head against the Crusaders and will continue the return-to-play protocol over the next five days.

Cobus Wiese and Ramone Samuels sustained minor shoulder injuries which will be assessed further on Monday.

Damian Willemse has recovered fully from the Haematoma he picked up against the Waratahs in Sydney and is available for selection against the Highlanders

Du Toit in Stormers touring squad


DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 27-man squad for their upcoming three-match tour of Australasia.

After getting their 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign off to a winning start with a 28-20 victory against the Jaguares at DHL Newlands on Saturday, the DHL Stormers fly to Sydney where they will face the Waratahs in the second round.

From Sydney the squad will then travel to New Zealand for encounters with the Highlanders and Crusaders, before heading back to Cape Town.

Although hooker Bongi Mbonambi will not be part of the squad due to a burst appendix, there is some good news on the injury front with lock Pieter-Steph du Toit cleared to tour after recovering from a back injury.

Mbonambi’s withdrawal means that hooker Dean Muir, who made his DHL Stormers debut off the replacements bench against the Jaguares, is included in the touring squad along with the likes of loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe and prop Caylib Oosthuizen, who did not feature in the opening game at DHL Newlands.

Fleck said that the squad is looking forward to the tour as they look to build on what they achieved in their opening game at DHL Newlands.

“We enjoy touring as a group and feel that there were plenty of positives in our performance against the Jaguares that we can build on in the coming weeks.

“The players have embraced the challenges that lie ahead of us and will be going all-out to raise our game further away from home,” he said.

DHL Stormers touring squad: Nizaam Carr, Damian de Allende, Jan de Klerk, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, JJ Engelbrecht, JC Janse van Rensburg, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, SP Marais, Dean Muir, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Justin Phillips, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Dyk, Chris van Zyl, EW Viljoen, George Whitehead, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse.

Stormers work hard for win against Jaguares


The Stormers had to work hard for their first win of the season when they beat the Jaguares 28-20 on Saturday at Newlands

The Stormers started of well putting pressure on the Jaguares and kept them in their twenty-two. Their set pieces looked solid and the backline looked full of running.

It was the Jaguares however that put the first points on the board after a mistake from the Stormers on attack. The Jaguares worked their way to the Stormers twenty and forced the penalty to take a 3-0 lead.

The game did not really get going but it was the Stormers with the ball in hand and they were eventually able to send De Allende over for the first try.

The Jaguares had some decent runs with ball in hand but Stormers defence kept them out and everytime the Jaguares got within striking range the Stormers manage to turn it over and start a counter attack.

Handling errors and support play was not great in the first twenty minutes for Stormers as they left a few tries on the park in that first forty minutes.

The Stormers gave away a few penalties with the Jaguares that were able to kick another three points to reduce the lead to 7-6.

With the penalties against the Jaguares adding up in their own half they were given a yellow card and Willemse kicked the penalty to get the lead to 10-6.

Not long after that the Stormers were playing with a bit more flair with one man down from the Jaguares and they got their second score through Kolisi who knock a few players down to go over.

This gave the Stormers a 15-6 lead.

There was a late surge from the Jaguares as they had a lineout five meters out just before halftime but the Stormers kept them out and got into the change room with a 15-6 lead.

Second half started well for Stormers as Rhule got his first try for the Stormers in the corner after they started running from their own twenty-two.

This gave them a 22-6 lead.

The Stormers on attack making another handling error gave the Jaguares the ball and some ordinary defence from them gave the Argentinians their first try of the match.

This reduced the lead for the Stormers to only 22-13.

The game again did not go anywhere with too many handling errors for both teams. With the Jaguares on attack the Stormers had to do it all in defence and eventually had to kick the ball out but Duvenage kicked a nothing kick which gave the Jaguares another opportunity to attack.

With this Sameuls went in with the hands and got a yellow card. The Jaguares kept with the scrums and eventually got a penalty try which makes the score 25-20 for the Stormers.

This gave the Jaguares the spark they needed, and they came at the Stormers again which gave them another penalty a few meters out.

The Stormers came with a brilliant scrum and won a penalty which gave them ball to get out of their twenty-two.

It was yet another negative play that ended the game with the Jaguares playing a player without the ball as the Stormers where on attack.

Willense kicked the penalty over to take the win 28-20.

Jaguares will need to get this negative play out of their game as it is spoiling the game we love. One starting to get a bad vibe and we do not need this in our game.

The Stormers eventually deserved the win but hard work left for them on their handling and defence.

  • Tries – Raymond Rhule(41′) Siya Kolisi(32′) Damian de Allende(19′)
  • Penalties – Damian Willemse(81′) Damian Willemse(57′) Damian Willemse(28′)
  • Cons – Damian Willemse(42′) Damian Willemse(20′)


  • Tries  – Emiliano Boffelli(46′)
  • Penalties – Emiliano Boffelli(22′) Nicolas Sanchez(5′)
  • Cons – Nicolas Sanchez(47′)



Stormers Stormers 28   20 Jaguares Jaguares


Willemse at 10 for Stormers


Four players are set to make their DHL Stormers debut in the Vodacom Super Rugby season-opener against the Jaguares at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

The 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season will get kick off at 15h05 on Saturday, when the DHL Stormers take on the Jaguares at DHL Newlands.

Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, George Whitehead and JJ Engelbrecht are all set to make their first appearance for the DHL Stormers, with Rhule starting on the left wing and prop Sadie, flyhalf Whitehead and utility back Engelbrecht among the replacements.

Rhule forms part of a dynamic back three with Seabelo Senatla and Dillyn Leyds, while Damian de Allende and EW Viljoen link up in midfield outside the halfback pairing of Dewaldt Duvenage and Damian Willemse.

Captain Siya Kolisi is joined by Nizaam Carr and Cobus Wiese in the loose trio, with lock pairing JD Schickerling and Chris van Zyl starting behind an all-Springbok front row of Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is looking forward to getting the new season started at DHL Newlands.

“The squad has put in a lot of hard work in preparation for this game, so hopefully we will see that pay off on Saturday.

“It is always great to start the season in front of our loyal fans at DHL Newlands, so it should be another special occasion,” he said.

Tickets for the season-opener are available from or any Computicket outlet and remain the same price as 2017.

2018 DHL Newlands season ticket-holders are urged to collect their new cards before Saturday from the WP Rugby offices in Bounday rd, Newlands.

DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.

Small denies link with Cardiff Blues


Rumors from Wales online suggested that Western province director of rugby Gert Smal was interviewed for the position as head coach for Cardiff Blues.

Small has rubbished the speculations saying he has never seen Holland before.


‘It’s completely not true,’ he said. ‘I don’t even know what the guy looks like.’

The Blues are looking for a replacement for Wilson who will join Wasps as he seeks a new challenge.

Smal joined Western Province as director of rugby in 2014.

Stormers succeed to make rugby complicated


Now if you want to confuse a blerrie coach just ask him to join Stormers rugby.

The Stormers have restructured the roles of their coaching staff ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby campaign.

According to Netwerk24, Paul Treu who was the team’s defence coach, is now an assistant coach focusing on the Stormers’ attack until the third phase, while on defence he is responsible for the first phase until the set pieces.

Paul Feeney’s role has changed from backline and skills coach to attack and defence coach from unstructured play.

Last season’s forwards coach, Russell Winter, is now the assistant coach for forwards and contact situations, including breakdown scenarios.

‘What Robbie Fleck and Gert Smal want is that our roles fit with our personalities,’ Treu said of the reshuffle.

Maybe a good idea Fleck and Gert read this…

Kolisi lead Stormers again in 2018


DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 47-man squad for the upcoming 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Experienced loose forward Siya Kolisi, who currently has 89 caps for the DHL Stormers, continues in the leadership role he took up last year, with lock Eben Etzebeth his vice-captain.

The DHL Stormers get their 2018 Vodacom Super rugby campaign underway when they host the Jaguares at DHL Newlands on Saturday, February 17.

Of the 47-man squad, there are nine players who will not be available to face the Jaguares in the opening game due to injury.

Etzebeth (shoulder), is joined on the injured list by SP Marais (toe), Scarra Ntubeni (hamstring), Ali Vermaak (hamstring), Jano Vermaak (knee), Jean-Luc du Plessis (groin), Dan du Plessis (shoulder), Frans Malherbe (neck) and Juarno Augustus (back).

Craig Barry (Toyota Cheetahs) and Neethling Fouche (Maties) are currently with other teams but are available to the DHL Stormers this season.

Fleck said that despite the injuries, the players are excited to get the season underway, having worked hard in the pre-season.

“It has been a good pre-season, which has seen us implement a number of new ideas, so the players are keen to make all the hard work count out on the pitch.

“We are all looking forward to our opening game against the Jaguares, which gives us a chance to play in front of our loyal fans at DHL Newlands before we go on tour,” he said.

Tickets for the game against the Jaguares will go on sale from 12h00 on Monday from or any Computicket outlet.

DHL Stormers squad: Juarno Augustus, Craig Barry, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Coetzee, Damian de Allende, Jan de Klerk, Paul de Wet, Stephan de Wit, Dan du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Johan du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, JJ Engelbrecht, Eben Etzebeth, Neethling Fouche, JC Janse van Rensberg, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, SP Marais, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Dean Muir, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sergeal Petersen, Justin Phillips, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Joshua Stander, Kobus van Dyk, Chris van Zyl, Alistair Vermaak, Jano Vermaak, EW Viljoen, George Whitehead, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse, Eddie Zandberg

Stormers ready for pre-season match against Bulls


Both the DHL Stormers and a DHL Western Province Invitational team will be in action in a pre-season double-header at Boland Park in Wellington on Saturday.

The DHL Stormers squad will take on the Vodacom Bulls at 16h00 in their final warm-up match before their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign kicks off, against the Jaguares at DHL Newlands on February 17.

DHL Western Province Invitational will face Boland Elite, in a curtain-raiser at 13h50, with the action getting underway with an early local club match at Boland Stadium.

The likes of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Wilco Louw, Jan de Klerk, Dewaldt Duvenage, Justin Phillips, Damian Willemse, EW Viljoen, and Dillyn Leyds have been included in the 28-man DHL Stormers squad, after missing the previous pre-season clash with SWD Eagles in George.

The DHL Western Province Invitational match against Boland Elite will allow the DHL Stormers management to get a good look at the depth available to them, with two players – Salmaan Moerat and Josh Stander – set for gametime in both matches in Wellington on Saturday.

Players that were not available for selection due to injury include Ali Vermaak (hamstring), Scarra Ntubeni (hamstring), Frans Malherbe (neck), Eben Etzebeth (shoulder), Pieter-Steph du Toit (back), Siya Kolisi (hamstring), Juarno Augustus (neck), Jano Vermaak (knee), Jean-Luc du Plessis (hip), Dan du Plessis (shoulder) and SP Marais (toe).

Seabelo Senatla and Sikhumbuzo Notshe are away on Springbok Sevens duty and Nizaam Carr is being rested having recently returned from a loan spell with London Wasps.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that the players are looking forward to testing themselves against the Vodacom Bulls before the campaign gets underway.

“The players have worked very hard in the pre-season, so this match will give us a good chance to get some competitive game-time under our belts.

“We want to ensure that our players are up to speed, so that we can be at our best at the start of what will be another demanding season,” he said.

Tickets are available from Webtickets at R100 for adults and R75 for scholars and will also be available at the gate at R120 for adults and R80 for scholars.

DHL Stormers squad:

Forwards: Jaco Coetzee, Jan de Klerk, Stephan de Wit, Johan du Toit, JC Janse van Rensberg, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl, Kobus van Dyk, Cobus Wiese.

Backs: Craig Barry, Damian de Allende, Dewaldt Duvenage, Dan Kriel, Eduan Keyter, Dillyn Leyds, Justin Phillips, Sergeal Petersen, Raymond Rhule, Josh Stander, EW Viljoen, George Whitehead, Damian Willemse.

Upgraded Notshe expected after returning from Sevens


Sikhumbuzo Notshe has always been highly rated by me and now the Stormers and Western Province can expect and upgraded version when he returns for the Super Rugby after a short stay with Blitzbokke.

Vodacom Rugby caught up with the Stormers man


“There are a couple of areas where I feel that I improved in the last couple of months – my skills benefited, as did my workrate,” Notshe said from the Blitzboks’ base in New Zealand where they’re preparing for the Hamilton Sevens.

Notshe joined the sevens programme in October last year, was selected for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side that played in Dubai in December, got his Blitzboks call-up for the Australasian leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series and made his Blitzboks debut in Sydney last weekend, when he replaced Ruhan Nel (knee).

“My one-on-one skills on defence and beating players on attack certainly benefited as well,” said the 24-year-old. “As did my work at the breakdown.”

This will be welcome news for Stormers supporters who have always had to concede that Notshe’s impressive speed has not been matched with the tenacity and physicality required of a Super Rugby loose forward.

The Wynberg old boy is keen to leave the Blitzboks with a bang by making a telling contribution at the Hamilton Sevens.

“Playing 15s will always be the bigger picture for me, but my involvement with the Blitzboks in the last couple of months certainly whet my appetite,” he said.

“There is a Commonwealth Games and a Rugby World Cup Sevens this year, but the biggest thing that will draw me back is the people that I worked with. There is a good culture going around here.”

Wakefield does not want Vermeulen


WP Rugby President Thelo Wakefield has hinted that they do not want Springbok Vermeulen back at WP Rugby.

He spoke to Netwerk24 and although it was speculated that Vermeulen will join the Stormers when he return from France Wakefield suggested something else.

Wakefield suggests otherwise saying the WPRU will not offer Vermeulen a contract for the 2018 season and no decision has been made beyond that time-frame.

‘We have to prepare Juarno (Augustus) for the Bok team. How can we achieve that if he doesn’t get game-time? We also have to allow Nizaam Carr back into the team to continue the excellent form he showed during his stint at Wasps,’ Wakefield told

He added Vermeulen might be considered if there are injuries to the Stormers’ loose forward stocks. 

‘We must send out the right message. We are often criticised for failure to hold onto our youngsters because we contract older players from elsewhere. We must start focusing on the development of our on players.’

This is the same president that have seen so many youngsters go to other franchises and become Springboks who suddenly have a problem getting Vermeulen, who could well be the next Springbok Captain, a place at the union.

The same Wakefield who has just now contracted Sergeal Petersen (Cheetahs), Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs), JJ Engelbrecht (Shuttles) but see it fit to leave out promising player Craig Barry.

The quicker Wakefield goes fulltime to SARU the better it will be it seems for WP Rugby in a whole.



Fleck happy with effort in George but injuries a concern


Robbie Fleck was satisfied with the intensity his team showed on defence and at the breakdown in their pre-season encounter with SWD Eagles in George on Saturday.

Fleck’s charges ran in 11 converted tries to claim a convincing 77-0 victory at Outeniqua Park, but the DHL Stormers boss was particularly happy with the fact that his team managed to keep the opposition scoreless on the day.

Defence and breakdown have been a major focus for the DHL Stormers in pre-season, with the results clear to see for everyone at what was a wet Outeniqua Park on Saturday.

“There were two things from our side that we came from this game with and we wanted to get right. One was our physicality, especially in the carrying and at the breakdown, the other one was our defensive effort.

“I thought the conditions were difficult, but our breakdown was outstanding on attack. Whenever we come here [George] it is always a dogfight at the breakdown, but our physicality around there was something that we can be proud of.

“Our defensive effort was good today, I thought we got off the line nicely and we created a few try-scoring opportunities through our defence.

“Those are the things that we have been focusing on in the last couple of weeks, regardless of who the opposition is we are happy with how that went,” said Fleck.

While not every pass went to hand in the slippery conditions, Fleck pronounced himself satisfied with the intent shown fom all of the 32 DHL Stormers that made it onto the park.

“Our skill level let us down a bit, part of that was the conditions, but we can cut down on our mistakes. The intent and the effort was there and that is what we wanted to get out of this,” he said.

The pre-season clash was also a good opportunity to have a look at what some of the young talent has to offer going forward, with a number of players sticking their hand up.

“It was pretty much an U21 pack, which shows that we are building some good depth at the moment. It was a good opportunity for these youngsters to stake a claim and I think they all did pretty well.

“In the last 10 or 15 minutes we brought all of those youngsters on and some of them are fresh out of school, so there are going to be some mistakes but there is obviously some real talent that is coming through,” said Fleck.

Fleck is confident that he has enough firepower at his disposal to make a positive start to what will be another demanding campaign.

“Out of our first eight games six are away from home, so we are touring after one game at home and the likes of Eben [Etzebeth] and Frans [Malherbe] are going to be missing from that tour. Jean-Luc and Dan du Plessis will still be out as well, but we are going to get them back, which is the pleasing side.

“The medical staff are working incredibly hard to get them back fit and ready, we need to get them 100% ready before we play them.

“We are taking it on a week by week basis with Eben, it is the type of injury where once it reacts and the muscles and the nerves start working again it is quite a quick turnaround,” he said.

Stormers demolish SWD


The DHL Stormers scored 11 unanswered tries in their dominant 77-0 pre-season victory against SWD Eagles in George on Saturday.

Conditions at Outeniqua Park were slippery, with a light rain falling throughout the game, but the DHL Stormers were just as slick in a commanding performance.

The visitors made an encouraging start to the game as they forced the hosts onto the back foot early. After some sustained pressure up front the ball was sent down the backline, with outside centre SP Marais going through for the opening try.

After the backs had shown their finishing skills, the forwards had a go with a textbook driving maul which saw hooker Chad Solomon crash over for the second try.

The third try came as a direct result of defensive pressure as Cobus Wiese rushed up and forced a pass which went straight to George Whitehead who raced away to score the intercept try.

Wiese would be next on the scoresheet as he stretched out to put the finishing touch on a try that was created by the backline, with Marais having been stopped just short of the line.

The fifth try came just before half-time, with No.8 Juarno Augustus powering his way over from close range. Flyhalf George Whitehead nailed all five conversions in the first half to give the DHL Stormers an imposing 35-0 advantage at the break.

The floodgates well and truly opened at the start of the second half as the DHL Stormers scored another four tries in just 15 minutes.

First it was Raymond Rhule who had simply too much pace, before Augustus was put away for his second following a great break from lock Eddie Zandberg.

Damian de Allende got on the scoresheet soon afterwards and he was followed by scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, with Marais slotting all four conversions.

Jantjies got his double thanks to some incredible skills from young gun David Kriel who stepped a few defenders on a counter-attack before getting a miracle offload away to the scrumhalf.

The final nail in the Eagles coffin was delivered three minutes from time as the DHL Stormers rushed up on defence, with young centre Rikus Pretorius on hand to grab the intercept.

The scorers:

For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Marais, Solomon, Whitehead, Wiese, Augustus 2, Rhule, De Allende, Jantjies 2, Pretorius
Cons: Whitehead 5, Marais 4, Stander 2

DHL Stormers playing squad: Christian Ambadiang, Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee, Damian de Allende, Ruben de Villiers, Paul de Wet, Stefan de Wit, Wikus Groenewald, JC Janse van Rensburg, Herschel Jantjies, Dan Kriel, David Kriel, SP Marais, Salmaan Moerat, Dean Muir, Sihle Njezula, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sergeal Petersen, Rikus Pretorius, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, Chad Solomon, Joshua Stander, Luke Stringer, Kobus van Dyk, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, George Whitehead, Cobus Wiese, Eddie Zandberg.

New Stormers to get run in George


New DHL Stormers recruits Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule were both named as part of the squad to face SWD Eagles in a pre-season match George on Saturday.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 32-man squad for the encounter, which will be played in four chukkas and kicks off at 15h00 at Outeniqua Park on Saturday.

In addition to the playing squad, there will be a further 13 DHL Stormers players who will travel to George in order to take part in a Fun Run at on Saturday morning.

Captain Siya Kolisi will be there with the likes of Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Dillyn Leyds on the 5km fun run, which starts at Outeniqua Park at 08h00 on Saturday.

Petersen and Rhule will be joined by fellow Springbok Damian de Allende in the squad for the warm-up clash, along with exciting young talents such as Salmaan Moerat and Juarno Augustus.

Also included in the playing squad are five members of the DHL Western Province U21 team that won the national championship last year in Eddie Zandberg, Ruben de Villiers, Paul de Wet, Herchel Jantjies and Wikus Groenewald, along with U19 talents Christian Ambadiang, Sihle Njezula, Rikus Pretorius and David Kriel who will all be at the Western Province Rugby Institute this year.

Players who were not available for selection due to injury include Eben Etzebeth (shoulder), Jean-Luc du Plessis (groin), Dan du Plessis (shoulder), Frans Malherbe (neck), Jano Vermaak (knee), Jan de Klerk (knee), Scarra Ntubeni (hamstring), EW Viljoen (foot), Michael Kumbirai (back), Grant Hermanus (groin), Johan du Toit (knee) and Justin Phillips (rib).

Etzebeth has seen a multidisciplinary team of doctors regarding his shoulder injury and is being evaluated weekly, but is not yet fit to train and will be out for at least four months.

Jean-Luc and Dan du Plessis are both expected to be sidelined for a further eight weeks, with Jean-Luc recovering from recent groin surgery in the USA and Dan out with a shoulder injury.

Vermaak will also be out of action for a further two months with a knee injury that was seen to in the off-season, whilst Malherbe continues to recover from his neck injury and is only expected back later in the season.

Fleck said that the first pre-season game will give him a chance to give a wide range of players some game-time against a competitive SWD outfit.

“We always look forward to our pre-season trips to George and we are expecting the usual spirited opposition from the Eagles, which is just what we need after a hard pre-season.

“While we will be getting in some valuable preparation on the pitch, it is also exciting to be able to connect with the community in George through the Fun Run some of our players will take part in on Saturday morning,” he said.

DHL Stormers playing squad: Christian Ambadiang, Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee, Damian de Allende, Ruben de Villiers, Paul de Wet, Stefan de Wit, Wikus Groenewald, JC Janse van Rensburg, Herschel Jantjies, Eduan Keyter, Dan Kriel, David Kriel, SP Marais, Salmaan Moerat, Dean Muir, Sihle Njezula, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sergeal Petersen, Rikus Pretorius, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, Chad Solomon, Joshua Stander, Luke Stringer, Kobus van Dyk, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, George Whitehead, Cobus Wiese, Eddie Zandberg.

Stormers send SOS to Whitehead


The season has not even started and the Stormers has already send out a SOS to Griquas ten George Whitehead as reported by  Netwerk24

WP Rugby has confirm the arrangement when the player joined the pre-season squad on Wednesday.

With Robert Du Preez moving to the Sharks last year the Stormers look a bit thin on the number 10 position with D Plessis return still unknown.

That leaves them with Willemse, Stander in the squad.

Stander signed from the Bulls last year and will certainly future for the Stormers this year with Willemse most properly the number 1 choice at this stage.

Whitehead, 28, has spent time at the Cheetahs, Kings and Griffons before joining Griquas in 2017.

The Stormers open their 2018 Super Rugby campaign at home against the Jaguares on Saturday, February 17.




DHL Stormers working hard in pre-season


The DHL Stormers are working hard in training, in preparation for the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

An extended DHL Stormers squad has been training at the High Performance Centre in Bellville, in preparation for what will be another demanding campaign.

Head Coach Robbie Fleck and his management team are intent on building on what was achieved last season, which came off the back of a lot of hard work in the pre-season.

Fleck says that following a short break after the Currie Cup, the players are refreshed and ready to give their all in an effort to further raise standards in all departments.

“Last season we changed our approach in the pre-season, which stood us in good stead throughout the campaign.

“The focus is on making sure that we put the hard work in now, both physically and mentally, in order to prepare the team for what lies ahead next year,” he said.

A host of senior players have signed contract extensions with Western Province Rugby beyond the 2018 season.

With the senior Springbok and DHL Stormers trio of Siya Kolisi, Damian de Allende and Steven Kitshoff having recently signed extensions until the end of 2019, they have since been joined by 13 further players in committing to the union for the next two years.

Experienced forwards JC Janse van Rensburg, Scarra Ntubeni, Nizaam Carr, Caylib Oosthuizen, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ali Vermaak, as well as exciting younger talents Wilco Louw and Kobus van Dyk have all committed their immediate future to the engine room at DHL Newlands.

Dillyn Leyds, Jano Vermaak, SP Marais, Craig Barry and Michal Hazner are the backline players that have signed extensions.

Of course, the likes of Springboks Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit are also all currently on contracts which run until the end of 2019.

There are also a number of current U19 and U21 players that have signed contract extensions, with World Rugby Under-20 Championship Player of the Tournament Juarno Augustus and Junior Springbok captain Ernst van Ryhn two of the young talents set to continue their careers with Western Province Rugby.

The wider training squad also includes new recruits Sergeal Petersen, Joshua Stander and Neethling Fouche.

Raymond Rhule will join training in January along with the rest of the Springboks in the squad, whilst JJ Engelbrecht will make his return to Cape Town for the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign once he has concluded his commitments with Japanese side Toyota Industries Shuttles.

Director of rugby Gert Smal said that with a talented wider squad assembled, the hard work starts now for the DHL Stormers.

“We are excited about the depth of talent that we have at our disposal with a number of senior players committing who will be able to provide valuable guidance for the talented youngsters coming through.

“It is important that we keep on moving forward in terms of our results, playing style and composure in all areas,” he said.

Western Province Rugby Group CEO, Paul Zacks, said that he cannot wait to see what this group will be able to go on to achieve in the next few years.

“This is a really exciting time for the DHL Stormers, with a strong squad and a management team that can take us forward into a new era,” he said.

President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), Mr Thelo Wakefield, wished all of the players well as they prepare for the 2018 campaign.

“We know that the players will give everything in the pre-season, in order to ensure that they are able to do the DHL Newlands Faithful proud when the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign gets underway,” he said.

DHL Stormers – 2017 season in review


The 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby competition saw the DHL Stormers make some bold strides in their game on their way to another conference title.

With the challenge of having to face all five New Zealand sides, the DHL Stormers put a major focus on skills and conditioning in the pre-season in a bid to transform their game.

Kiwi Skills and Attack Coach Paul Feeney was added to the management group of Head Coach Robbie Fleck, Forwards Coach Russell Winter, Defence Coach Paul Treu, Kicking Coach Vlok Cilliers and Strength and Conditioning Coach Steph du Toit.

There was also a new captain in Siya Kolisi, who was backed up by vice-captain Eben Etzebeth in a leadership group that also featured experienced heads such as JC Janse van Rensburg, Juan de Jongh, Frans Malherbe and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

They claimed a second consecutive Africa Conference One title, with 10 wins from 15 games in the league phase of the competition to go into the play-offs as third seeds.

They scored 65 tries in those 15 games – the fourth most in the competition – to establish themselves as one of the most dangerous attacking teams.

The hard work in pre-season paid off immediately as they made a dominant start to the competition with six consecutive wins against the Vodacom Bulls, Jaguares, Southern Kings, Sunwolves, Cheetahs and Chiefs.

Before the end of the season they had added victories against the Blues, Toyota Cheetahs, Sunwolves and Vodacom Bulls

The victories against the Chiefs and the Blues at DHL Newlands were two of just three wins against New Zealand teams by a team from outside New Zealand the entire season.

There were also a host of talented players who got their first taste of Vodacom Super Rugby for the DHL Stormers, with the likes of Damian Willemse, Justin Phillips, Jaco Coetzee, Cobus Wiese, Juarno Augustus, EW Viljoen, Ramone Samuels, Steph de Wit and SP Marais all making their debut for the franchise.

During the course of the season Bongi Mbonambi, SP Marais, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit all played their 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match.

There were also some players who parted way with the DHL Stormers at the end of the season, with De Jongh, Oli Kebble and Cheslin Kolbe all moving on to play in Europe.

Fleck is looking forward to the opportunity to build on the progress that his team made in 2017, as they continue to grow as a unit.

“We have a chance to build on what we have been doing since the start of pre-season training last year and the number of young players coming through in the union makes it exciting.

“What is important now is that we use the time before the start of next season wisely so that we come back even stronger at the start of the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby competition. If we have made the progress we have since last year there is no reason we can’t make similar progress in the same period going forward.

“I believe we have shown massive improvement from last year, and we can do that again. But we’ve got to look at ourselves first and understand who we are and where we want to go.

“Right now the graph is fairly steady and we have a foundation to build off,” he said.

DHL Stormers 2017 results

DHL Stormers 37-24 Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 32-25 Jaguares at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 41-10 Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth
DHL Stormers 44-31 Sunwolves in Singapore
DHL Stormers 53-10 Toyota Cheetahs at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 34-26 Chiefs at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 16-29 Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 24-57 Crusaders in Christchurch
DHL Stormers 14-57 Highlanders in Dunedin
DHL Stormers 22-41 Hurricanes in Wellington
DHL Stormers 30-22 Blues at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 10-22 Cell C Sharks in Durban
DHL Stormers 40-34 Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein
DHL Stormers 52-15 Sunwolves at DHL Newlands
DHL Stormers 41-33 Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria
DHL Stormers 11-17 Chiefs at DHL Newlands


Goodbye Newlands Hello Cape Town Stadium


It looks like a gone conclusion that Western Province Union will make the move to Cape Town Stadium from Newlands. In an exclusive interview with WP President Netwerk24 has reported that fans should say their goodbyes to Newlands as the move can happen as soon as 2019.

It is no secret that WP Rugby are in talks with Cape Town Metro on the move to Cape Town stadium and this for Wakefield is a business decision which is rather when than if it will happen.

Before the All Blacks test at Newlands Wakefield said in the media that this will be the last test at the iconic stadium.

With WP Rugby financially in trouble for the past few years it has been a move that was expected and part of professional sport. The World Cup 2023 bid also showed the writing on the wall when SARU in their bid put Cape Town Stadium and not Newlands up as one of the stadiums.

Everything points that 2018 will be the farewell season for Newlands in it’s long history with South African rugby.

Read the Full story here

Rhule and Petersen off to Stormers


Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen is joining the Stormers and will most properly play their last match for the Cheetahs next week in the PRO14 against Zebre according to Netwerk24.

Their contracts that comes to an end on the 31 October with the Cheetahs and signed new deals with the Stormers ahead of the 2018 season of Super Rugby.

The two will play according to Netwerk24 against Zebre but will fly home before the Cheetahs take on Connacht on the 4 November.

‘Their contracts with the Stormers will come into effect on 1 November, and I’m sure they will want to get to Cape Town as soon as possible to properly prepare after the Pro14 series,’ Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan said.

Both wings have earned their Springbok colors and will add much depth for he Stormers in Super Rugby.

Hits keep coming as Adidas set to leave WP Rugby


Financially embattled Western Province Rugby have a new quandary on their hands as their decades-long kit sponsorship with sports clothing giant adidas is to be terminated, writes Sport24

On Friday, adidas (South Africa) sports marketing manager Howard Kahn told Sport24: “The current contract between WP and adidas ends on October 31 and we are in discussions with the union.”

But Sport24 understands from other sources that resumption of the relationship – one that began well over 30 years ago during WP’s record Currie Cup-winning heyday of the mid-1980s – is highly unlikely.

The development comes hot on the heels of the news very recently that Remgro, the investment company which helped bail WP Rugby out of their cash crisis late last year, just ahead of controversial liquidation of the business wing, would not be converting loans to the union into stake-holding.

It means that WP Rugby will have to gradually pay back some R40 million which helped pay staff and player salaries during the troubled period.

They are also far from out of the woods on financial issues as Aerios, the company at the centre of a multimillion-rand advertising rights dispute with them, continues to pursue a massive damages claim of around R276 million.

A Section 417 insolvency inquiry is scheduled to begin next Thursday, under retired High Court judge Eberhard Bertelsmann, and subpoenas have been served on the directors of WP Rugby.

Sport24 has learnt that WP Rugby are contemplating an “in-house” solution to their kit issue, following the adidas pull-out – the 2018 season is only some six months away, starting with Super Rugby in its likely, traditional starting slot of late February.

The chief executive of WP Rugby, Paul Zacks, has experience in the trade as he is a former managing director of rugby jersey manufacturer Canterbury International SA.

Canterbury SA applied for voluntary liquidation in 2009 – they were kit suppliers to the Springboks at the time – although Zacks had changed jobs two years before.

It is understood that, during the lengthy association with adidas, WP Rugby benefited significantly both in cash and kit-supply terms; they provided training and match kit to all WP sides, including age-group ones and the women’s team.

The adidas name is so influential that teams like Munster and Harlequins in the northern hemisphere actually buy their kit from them.

Earlier this year, the company also extended its multimillion-dollar kit deal with the world champion All Blacks to 2023.

*Sport24 has approached WP Rugby for comment on the adidas termination.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Rhule joining DHL Stormers after Currie Cup


Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule will join Western Province and the Stormers after the completion of this year’s Currie Cup.

Rhule, who has won three caps for the Springboks, confirmed the news to Netwerk24 on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old was Bok coach Allister Coetzee’s preferred choice at wing in the June international home series against France despite being deployed at outside centre for the Cheetahs.

Rhule is likely to be included in Coetzee’s Rugby Championship squad which means he will take no further part in the Free State side’s Currie Cup campaign after the weekend.

But first he will line up for his club against the Sharks in Bloemfontein for what will be his 50th Currie Cup game and final appearance for the Cheetahs, who move to the newly-revamped PRO14 next season.

And with Rhule wanting to keep his Springbok career ticking over, it is the obvious choice to remain in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Cheetahs teammates Sergeal Petersen (wing) and Oupa Mohoje (flank) have also been heavily linked with a move to the Cape side but as of yet the Stormers have not confirmed any signings.

Cane impress by Kolisi


All Black and Chiefs Sam Cane believe Kolisi is a South African loose forward playing like a Kiwi.

The All Black flank was full of praises for Kolisi and the form he has shown this year not just in Super Rugby but also during the test series against France. The Stormers host the Chiefs in one of the four play-off matches this weekend at Newlands.

Cane admits to being impressed with Kolisi this season and knows his side must limit his impact.

 “He is a South African loose forward that plays a lot more like a Kiwi‚” he told TimesLive. “He’s got good footwork‚ a great skill-set‚ and is very physical too. I’m not sure if he has bulked up in the past few years. I first swapped a Test jersey with him four years ago. We always make an effort to chat after the game. We’ve got a good relationship.”

Judging from recent Stormers performances it promises to be a frantic game at Newlands this weekend as both sides like to play at a pace, which should create another thriller between the sides.

Everyone knows that our game revolves around lightning-quick ball,” added head coach Dave Rennie. “Because of that‚ teams are going to work really hard to slow our ball down. Our ball-carriers and supporting players need to do a good job to ensure we get quick ball. And hopefully the referee will play his part in that respect too.”

He continued: “That last game [against the Stormers] was a hell of a game of footy. We made a couple of errors and got punished. We need to look after the ball. They’ve got a big pack and a lot of firepower out the back. That’s what we expect from the African sides. Hopefully‚ we can get a bit of pill and put pressure on them.”

SP Marais back from injury


The Stormers welcome back most of their injured players this week which sees SP Marais, Wilco Louw, Oli Kebble, Ali Vermaak, Rynhardt Elstadt and Kobus van Dyk all available for selection for the DHL Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Chiefs at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Prop Louw (knee) and flank Elstadt (wrist) were ruled out of the clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld after picking up injuries late last week, but have recovered and will be up for selection this week.

Fullback Marais and flank Van Dyk have both been out for two weeks with knee injuries and have returned to full training this week.

Props Kebble (hamstring) and Vermaak (calf) will also both be available for the DHL Stormers for the first time since the June international break.

Stormers back Willemse


Stormers coach Robbie Fleck will have no problem backing young Damian Willemse to start at flyhalf in Saturday’s high-pressured quarter-final against the Chiefs, writes CRAIG LEWIS for SARugbyMag

The Stormers have opted to start the 19-year-old in their last three games, with Willemse having made his Super Rugby run-on debut against the Cheetahs after returning from duty at the World Rugby U20 Championship last month.

As it is, the highly-regarded youngster is seen as the future at flyhalf for the Stormers, with Brandon Thomson heading to the Glasgow Warriors, while Robert du Preez has been strongly linked with a move back to the Sharks.

In recent weeks, Willemse has displayed plenty of encouraging signs, particularly on attack, which has served to vindicate his selection.

And although this Saturday’s quarter-final against the Chiefs is sure to present his greatest challenge yet, Fleck insisted at a press conference at the team’s high-performance base on Monday that they had no doubts about Willemse’s ability to rise to the occasion.

‘I think he’s been outstanding, he’s brought a different dynamic to our attack. He brings a lot of energy and he’s a tough character who gets stuck in. So we’ve got no problem selecting him against the Chiefs, it doesn’t matter what his age is, the boy is performing, and we need to keep backing him.’

One area where Willemse has battled for consistency has been with his goal-kicking, which has seen him miss five out of 13 shots at goal.

Nevertheless, Fleck said they believed he would continue to grow into this role as a frontline goal-kicker, while suggesting there were enough backup kicking options if needed.

‘We believe in him [Willemse], he has huge belief in himself and the players enjoy playing with him. When it comes to the goal-kicking duties, SP [Marais] is back, so that might play a role in the selection, while Cheslin [Kolbe] did a good job when he had to kick against the Cheetahs.

‘We want to take the pressure off Damian, his goal-kicking is part of his growth in terms of where he’s going and we do like to have a flyhalf who has the kicking duties, but we’ll make the right decision going forward. Looking at his general play and his abilities, there’s no doubt around him.’

ALSO READ: Stormers must be smarter

As Fleck alluded to, Marais’ return to fitness does provide an interesting selection quandary this week, with Dillyn Leyds having impressed in his absence at fullback.

Of course, Leyds could move back to the wing in order to accommodate Marais, but this would be likely to result in Seabelo Senatla dropping out of the starting lineup at a time when the Blitzboks star has just begun to find some form.

‘We do have an interesting selection consideration,’ Fleck commented. ‘SP has had an excellent season at the back. His boot makes a big difference, and his decision-making has been very good all-year round. But Dillyn has been absolutely outstanding in the last couple of games, especially on the counter-attack, and he’s also made good decisions.

‘It’s a good headache to have, while we have to also consider that Seabelo has come into form of late. His speed does have an impact on the way we want to play, but we’ll look at the combinations that will suit what we want to do and provide the best opportunities on attack or with the kicking game.’

Fleck added that there were no new injury worries after this past weekend’s clash against the Bulls, while confirming that Rynhardt Elstadt, Wilco Louw, Ali Vermaak, Oli Kebble and Kobus van Dyk would be available for selection.

Rumors that JJ on his way back to WP


Nuus24 reported that the chances are good for the return of JJ Engelbrecht to WP Rugby. After almost six years since Engelbrecht and Sadie left WP Rugby for the Blue Bulls he wants to return back to Cape Town.

JJ was a player that had plenty of potential but was moved from wing to the midfield by the Blue Bulls which also saw him earning his Springbok colors.

In hindsight he should have maybe stayed on the wing which saw him as a great attacker at Western Province and many expected much from the then young wing.

In the midfield JJ never had the best of defence which saw him lost his Springbok spot and later also his starting spot at the Bulls. JJ moved to Japan to play club rugby for Toyota Industries Shuttles.

It seemes WP Rugby is making a habit in buying players that is sometimes past their sell by date.

His return to WP will come with mixed feelings as there are already noises that  Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule on their way is to Cape Town.

Time will tell if this will actually happen

Stormers beat Cheetahs ugly


The Stormers edge the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein from a scrappy game that saw the game end with two red cards 40-34.

The game started with both teams giving the ball air and running it down the field. It was the Stormers that scored the first try with brilliant backline move to send Kolbe over and the lead of 7-0 after just 4 minutes.

The Cheetahs answered the way they know best in scoring their first try from a scrum set five meters out often Stormers line.

This made the score 7 all after just 8 minutes.

Senatla made his appearance quickly onto the field with SP Marias injuring himself with Kolbe moving from wing to fullback.

The Stormers then started to take full control and played in the Cheetahs half where WIllemse showed his class and scored the Stormers next try.

It took not long before they got to 26-10 after just 32 minutes.

The Cheetahs had enough ball but made mistakes on attack which the Stormers took as opportunities.

A yellow card to Marais did not help the Cheetahs cause as well.

The Cheetahs did put the pressure back on the Stormers and while they were controlling things Elstadt got yet another yellow card this season.

The Cheetahs took the advantage of the one man extra in the pack and drove over for their second try of the match.

The teams went into the break with the Stormers leading 26-17.

The second half was much even between the two teams but it was again the Stormers to extend the lead and had a lead of 33-17.

A yellow card to Du Toit for a high tackle brought the Cheetahs back in the game and they scored immediately through Swart who powered over the line.

The Cheetahs scored twice while Du Toit was off and took the lead 34-33.

It cost all that is the Stormers to work for another try to take the lead back to 40-34 with minutes to go.

The game ended with two red cards which put a damper on the end result but a win for the Stormers.



Tries: Sikhumbuzo Notshe(73′) Cheslin Kolbe(52′) Seabelo Senatla(31′) Cheslin Kolbe(28′) Damian Willemse(20′) Cheslin Kolbe(2′)

Penalties: Cheslin Kolbe(60′)

Cons: Cheslin Kolbe(75′) Cheslin Kolbe(53′) Cheslin Kolbe(29′) Cheslin Kolbe(21′) SP Marais(3′)


Tries: Raymond Rhule(61′) Clinton Swart(56′) Elandre Huggett(39′) Reniel Hugo(7′)

Penalties: Daniel Marais(48′) Daniel Marais(18′)

Cons: Daniel Marais(62′) Daniel Marais(57′) Daniel Marais(40′) Daniel Marais(8′)


Will WP let Player of U20 World Championship slip away ?


Junior Springbok No 8 Juarno Augustus was named the World Rugby Under-20 Championship Player of the Tournament on Sunday.

Augustus was a try scoring machine and crosses the whitewash in each of the Junior Boks five matches, seven in total and the leading try scorer in the tournament.

The young man from Western Province have made steady progress though his short professional career and  allot is expected from the eight man. Most people are saying he is a more conservative number eight and have a almost Vermeulen feel to his play.

He went up against England captain Zach Mercer and his teammate Gabriel Ibiotye, and New Zealand’s Tiaan Falcon and Will Jordan for the prestigious award.

“It is a surreal feeling to win this award,” Augustus said. “I didn’t think I would win it.

“It is an honour and privilege for me, and certainly a highlight in my career.

“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches and the public who voted for me. I’d also like to thank my family for their unwavering support throughout my career. This is a very special moment.”

He only started playing rugby at the age of 12 but has shown with his performances in Georgia and his knack of popping up in the right place at the right time that he will be donning the Springbok jersey before too long.

The Junior Boks depart for South Africa via Istanbul on Monday, and will land in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The next question will be if Western Province will be able to keep the exciting youngster in the province and secondly if they will try and expose him to Super Rugby with the remaining three matches in the group stages.

Western Province do not have a good track record for keeping young players and letting them grow in the system. Names like Pollard, Hougaard, Combrick spring to mind when you look at quality players that left Cape Town early in their careers.

Augustus still have a contract with WP till end of next season but time will tell if the powers of WP rugby will let another youngster slip away or will they finally keep one for the franchise.

The powerful number eight is the joint top try-scorer going into the final round of matches, having scored six tries for the Junior Springboks in Georgia. He has scored in every match, including braces against France in the opening round – including the last-gasp try that enabled South Africa to snatch a draw – and the semi-final loss to England.

Photo: World Rugby

Good and Bad news for Stormers


The Stormers have received some good with the bad while they prepare for the final stages of Super Rugby in July.

It was great news for the men from Cape Town to hear that  Scarra Ntubeni, centre Dan du Plessis and flanks Rynhardt Elstadt and Steph de Wit will all return to training next week.

Ntubeni who has been sideline for a long time will make his return from an Achilles injury sustained in the Currie Cup last year, whilst Dan Du Plessis was able to avoid undergoing surgery on his shoulder, which he dislocated against the Crusaders in Christchurch earlier this season.

Elstadt has also recovered from a fractured rib and Steph De Wit is back after breaking his ankle in pre-season which was a huge setback for the Stormers.

But with good news comes the bad as well and fly-half Jean-Luc du Plessis will undergo surgery on his hips this week which will rule him out for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile the Stormers Scottish  centre Huw Jones’ hamstring is recovering well and he should be available to play in five weeks.

Fly-half Rob du Preez (torn pectoral muscle), lock Jan de Klerk (broken toe) and flank Cobus Wiese (shoulder) are all expected to return in only three months.

De Jongh link with Wasp


Stormers centre Juan de Jongh is reportedly set to swap Super Rugby for the Premiership to join Wasps.

De Jongh, 29, is set to make the move later this year according to Netwerk24, with his future club playing in Saturday’s Premiership final at Twickenham.

De Jongh has struggled with injury this year, tearing his MCL in pre-season, but has been named on the bench for the Stormers’ Super Rugby fixture with the Sharks on Saturday.

Named in the SA ‘A’ squad to face the French Barbarians next month, De Jongh has won 19 caps for the Springboks, scoring three tries.

10 Jumper for Leyds not so bad idea


The Stormers are back in action this week after a week off coming back from a disappointing tour in New Zealand.

The one thing the Stormers have going for them this week at least is that they are back at home and hopefully the supporters will come in to see them take on the Blues on Friday.

Coach robbie Fleck is sitting with yet another fly-half crises and it seems it is something the Stormers have been sitting with every season for the last couple of years.

This year Fleck had already used Du Plessis, Du Preez, Coleman, Thomson  and Willemse at the pivot number ten jumper and now it seems like Leyds maybe the man wearing the jersey on Friday Night.


Fleck said Leyds, who played at fly-half in high school, is one of three players who could wear the Stormers’ number 10 jersey against the Blues.

We’ve got Dillyn, we’ve recalled Brandon Thomson from the Currie Cup side and we’ve got Joe Pietersen, who’s been training with us,” Fleck told IOL. “Unfortunately Damian will only be able to join us for the last three games. Hopefully Jean-Luc gets a game for the Supersport (Rugby Challenge) side in two or three weeks’ time. Thommo was over in Glasgow for a large part of this campaign and he’s played the last couple of games for Dobbo (Western Province Currie Cup coach John Dobson), so it’s quite an easy transition for him to come into this side.”

Leyds played at fly-half for the Stormers when Du Preez was forced off the field against the Hurricanes and he has been training from time to time in that position this year in the training sessions. He knows the calls and moves and he is a brilliant talent which coudl easily fits into that role if really needed.

Dillyn has done the job on tour and there’s a good chance we’ll play him there,” he added. “He’s been with us the longest and he’s been running the show. He knows the patterns, our structures and our systems the best. And I’d say so does Joe, he’s been training with us for three of four months.”

Fleck wants his youngster to learn how to swim first


One thing that Stormers coach Robbie Fleck always believed in was his youngsters in his squad but he told Stormers MAG that they need to learn to swim before he throw them in Super Rugby.

Over the last two season as head coach at the Stormers was always willing to give youngsters a change when the opportunity arise. Some successes came out of this and he believes it will serve the union well in the years to come.

JD Schickerling, Cobus Wiese, Brandon Thomson and Jean-luc du Plessis, Daniel du Plessis, EW Viljoen and Leolin Zas were all under the age of twenty two when they started at the Stormers.

Damian Willemse also made a impressive debut of the bench earlier this year.

Fleck told Stormers MAG ” I certainly like backing youngsters at Super Rugby level, I myself came from a group of relatively young players in my debut season back in 1988 and, if you get the balance right between youth and experience, then you’ll be successful for the next three or four years.”

“Already the guys we backed last year have taken their game to the next level and their performances this season reflecting that.”

Although Fleck has always back his youngsters, he admits that injuries in the squad sometimes hand young players and opportunity earlier than planned.

You can not be scared to expose these players when this kind of opportunity arrives even it is a forced decision.

Fleck also understand that you need to manage these players carefully. This is not just a case of lets throw them in and see if they can swim Super Rugby is a high tempo high class competition which demand allot from players week in and week out.

At the Stormers even if Fleck believes a player is ready to step up, there is still a process to eases these players into the environment long before he step on the field for the first time.

Damien Williamse is a great example as he has been part of the squad for many of the weekends this year and even though he did not get onto the park for the Stormers he is in the change room, in the hotel before the games and warming up with the team.

He also attend team meetings before and after matches which all add to a world of experience he gain which he might not have gain if he was pushed into the team to quickly.

Fleck does this with allot of the youngsters and this will add great experience which he believe they will get back from in the years to come.

Three youngsters that coach Fleck has been impressed with so far….

EW Viljoen – Debut at 21 years and EW is one of the best outside centres coming out of the system. He had the opportunities this year also to show his class and a player to forward to in the years to come.

Cobus Wiese – Debut at 19 years and Fleck has been impressed by his fitness, speed and power with just the right amount of aggression. He still have allot to learn but Fleck has been impressed with his progress.

Damien Willemse – Debut at 18 years this youngster is the one Fleck believes allot in at the pivot role of flyhalf. Although Fleck believes he is ready for Super Rugby he still want to prepare him to be the best he can be when he does make the step-up.

That Western Province young rugby is healthy, there is now doubt, the problem for Felck and the union will be to develop them right and keep them in the union.

Stormers set loose Du Preez


DHL Stormers flyhalf Robert du Preez has been ruled out with a torn pectoral muscle and will undergo specialist opinion regarding possible surgery.

Du Preez was the only major casualty from the DHL Stormers final tour game against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Centre Dan du Plessis and flank Cobus Wiese have both successfully undergone surgery on dislocated shoulders which have put them out of action for the next four months.

Centre Damian de Allende (ankle) and wing Seabelo Senatla (foot) will both return to full training this week after lengthy lay-offs, along with locks Eben Etzebeth (calf) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) who have recovered from minor niggles.

Hurricanes handed Stormers third defeat on tour


It is always easy to hit a team when they are down and most people did not give the Stormers a slight chance to come close to the Hurricanes.

To be honest they did not earn any respect in this regard from the fans and where trying to get atleast one win on their tour in New Zealand.

They were first to socre points in the game with a penalty and a lead of 3-0 after just five min but the next twenty minutes belonged to the Hurricanes scoring three quick tries which gave them a 17-3 lead.

The Stormers defence was again caught out as soon as the Hurricanes played their expansive game and made it looked too easy.

With the Stormers stearing another huge socre in the eyes they hit back with a great drive from their forwards to get over for their first try.

That made the lead only 17-10 but the Hurricanes soon got another try through some great work at ruck time to turnover a crucial ball in the Stormers twenty two.

With 22-10 the Stormers body lauguge did not look good but with some penalties coming their wy in the late stages of the first half they went into the break 22-16.

The Second half started with the Stormers doing much of the pay and force penalty on penalty. They were able to convert another two to level the score at 55 min at 22 all.

The Stormers did what most have asked them to do all season and put their bodies on the line on defence. They managed to keep the Hurricanes off their line for more than 10 minutes before the Hurricanes finally wnet over for try number 5.

The Stormers got a lucky break when a Hurricanes try was dissallowed and camp in the Hurrcanes twenty two. With a yellow card for the Hurricanes the Stormers kicked for the line but waste the opertunity with a knock close to the line.

With the Stormers om attack they conceded a 80 meter try after yet another turnover and the lead of 34-22.

Stormers fans will be mad with Jackson letting the Hurricanes infringe at the Stormers drives with no penalties.

The Hurricanes ended the match with their seveth try of the match winning the game 41-22.

If the Hurricanes had a proper kicker they would have put 50 points against the Stormers, not good reading from Stormers.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Jane, J Barrett 2, J Savea, Laumape 2
Cons: J Barrett 3
Yellow Card: Shields

For Stormers:
Try: Samuels
Con: Du Preez
Pens: Du Preez, Marais 4
Yellow Card: Mbonambi

Treeby starts for Stormers against Hurricanes


Centre Shaun Treeby will make his first start for the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday.

Having made his DHL Stormers debut off the replacements bench against his former team the Highlanders in Dunedin last week, Treeby will wear the No.12 jersey in Wellington, having traded places with Dan Kriel.

The only other change to the backline that started against the Highlanders sees Dewaldt Duvenage at scrumhalf, with Jano Vermaak providing cover this week.

There are a number of changes to the forward pack which has been hit hard by injury in recent weeks.

In the loose trio captain Siya Kolisi is back at blindside flank with Kobus van Dyk getting his first opportunity to start on the openside.

Chris van Zyl returns from a week out with concussion to take his place in the second row alongside Jan de Klerk, whilst in the front row there are two new props in the starting line-up as Wilco Louw and Ali Vermaak get an opportunity.

Props Caylib Oosthuizen and Oli Kebble are new additions on the replacements bench, along with lock JD Schickerling who will get his first opportunity for the DHL Stormers this season should he take the field.

After two tough games on tour in New Zealand, DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck wants to see a positive response from his team this weekend.

“We have had to learn some hard lessons on this tour which will be good for us going forward.

“We face the defending champions and the players are determined to make an impression and show that we can be competitive,” he said.

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Bjorn Basson.

De Jongh. Elstadt join Stormers ahead of Hurricanes game


Juan de Jongh, Rynhardt Elstadt, Caylib Oostuizen and Damian Willemse will all join the  Stormers in Wellington ahead of their final tour game against the Hurricanes on Friday.

Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time)

Centre De Jongh (knee) and utility forward Elstadt (ankle) have both recently recovered from injury and will provide some important experience ahead of the clash with the defending Super Rugby champions.

There were more injuries added to the list following the defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin, with prop JC Janse van Rensburg, locks Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit and flyhalf Kurt Coleman all flying back to Cape Town.

Janse van Rensburg has torn a bicep muscle and will be out for four to six weeks, whilst Coleman tore a deltoid ligament in his ankle in training and Etzebeth (calf) and Du Toit (knee) have also been ruled out due to injury niggles.

There are also doubts about captain Siya Kolisi who is nursing a shoulder injury, whilst prop Frans Malherbe will not be available for selection this week due to the Springbok management plan.

Despite these setbacks, Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said that the squad is determined to end their tour of New Zealand with an improved performance in Wellington.

“The injury list is growing, but luckily we welcome some quality players back this week and we are focused on the challenge ahead.

“We know that we can improve in a number of areas, so the goal this week is to raise our game against the Hurricanes,” he said.

Thanks to 

Another embarrassing defeat for Stormers


The Highlanders gave the Stormers another embarrassing defeat on Friday when they ran in 9 tries to beat them 59-14

The Stormers came of two losses in two weeks and needed to get back on track and winning ways against the Highlanders.

The game had a great start with both teams keeping ball in hand and wanting to run the ball. It was some brilliant stuff from Kolisi to open space up for the Stormers first try and the lead of 7-0.

This lead did not last long as the Highlanders hit back almost immediately after a poor attempt to exit from the Stormers gave them their first try. This made the scores 7 all after just a few minutes of the match.

With the Stormers winning a lineout in their own twenty-two and exit down field the assist referee asked the referee to go to the TMO to check for what he saw as a tip tackle.

Replies showed that the Highland players jumped on Kebble but the referee still gave penalty to the Highlanders which gave them a change to stretch the Stormers at the back and scored their second try.

The Stormers again found themselves in the own twenty-two and with yet another bad exit gave the Highlanders their third try through poor defense.

The forth try came from a perfect lineout from the Highlanders and they stretch their lead to 24-7.

The Highlanders did not stop they create space through great passing game with the Stormers unable to make the first-time tackles.

They got their 5 try through great hands and went into the break with a 31-7 lead over the Stormers.

The Stormers started well in the second half trying to play in the right areas and only execution left them without scoring in the first ten minutes of the second half.

The Highlanders defence have been great all game and knocking Stormers attackers back most of the time.

Although the Stormers made all the play and camped in Highlanders twenty-two it was again the Highlanders that scored after the Stormers forced passes close to their line which was not on.

This gave a runaway try to the Highlanders to take the score to 38-7 after 58 min.

The flood gates then open as the Stormers could not keep the Highlanders out and they quickly reach 52-7 putting another 50 points against them in two weeks with ten minutes to go.

The Stormers did manage a try but it was the Highlanders that ended the match with a brilliant try after the hooter to make the final score 59-14.

The was the second crushing defeat for the men from Cape Town and with defence like they have shown the last two weeks one cannot see anything changing next week against the Hurricanes.

Stormers fans can expect another 50 pointer against them


Highlanders 57 (31)

Tries: Patrick Osborne (2), Waisake Naholo (2), Liam Squire, Rob Thompson, Dillon Hunt, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Matt Faddes

Conversions: Marty Banks (5), Fletcher Smith

Stormers 14 (7)

Tries: Nizaam Carr, Dewaldt Duvenage

Conversions: Robert du Preez (2)

Etzebeth raises DHL Stormers half-century


Eben Etzebeth will play his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby game for the DHL Stormers when they face the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

The imposing 25-year-old lock, who made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut in 2012, has been named DHL Stormers vice-captain for the clash at the Forsyth-Barr Stadium with regular skipper Siya Kolisi returning after being rested last week.

Kolisi will start at openside flank with Nizaam Carr shifting to No.8 and Pieter-Steph du Toit continuing on the blindside, whilst Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Kobus van Dyk will provide loose forward cover.

There are a number of changes to the tight five, with Jan de Klerk getting a chance to partner Etzebeth in the second row and props Oli Kebble and Frans Malherbe starting with JC Janse van Rensburg and Wilco Louw on the replacements bench.

In the backline scrumhalf Jano Vermaak returns to the starting line-up to partner flyhalf Robert du Preez, with Dewaldt Duvenage on the replacements bench.

The shoulder injury to midfielder Dan du Plessis sees Dan Kriel start at inside centre, with the experienced former Highlander Shaun Treeby set to provice an impact in the second half.

Fullback SP Marais returns from a groin niggle which kept him out of action last week, which means that Dillyn Leyds moves back to the left wing with Bjorn Basson amongst the replacements.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is determined to rise to the occasion in Dunedin.

“We have worked hard as a group to ensure that we bring the necessary intensity against the Highlanders this weekend.

“This is a great opportunity for us to show what we are capable of in a tough environment against quality opposition, so everyone is looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Shaun Treeby (DHL Stormers debut), 23 Bjorn Basson.

Eben problem? What problem?


If Eben Etzebeth walks a disciplinary tightrope, he walks it astonishingly well.

The hulking Springbok lock, one of pitifully few genuinely world-class players in the current Springbok set-up, may well not be appreciated enough on these shores, I fancy, for the abundance of attributes he brings to both Super Rugby and Test matches.

He is about as complete a second-row forward as you will find, and there is a solid case for arguing that he is better than – and at very least equal to – present global rivals like New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick and England’s emerging Maro Itoje.

Not only does Etzebeth produce all the “grunt” and physicality of a classic No 4 lock, but his athletic side – and associated extra value in team work-rate and visibility terms – makes him a seriously indispensable package to any team he represents.

Just another side to Etzebeth that may go under-lauded is how he consistently fronts up even in deep adversity … like when the Stormers side he led against the Crusaders last Saturday were seriously under the cosh in scoreboard terms and in danger after the first half (3-36) of collapsing to a particularly gory reverse.

But with Etzebeth constantly to the fore for desperate commitment and energy, the tourists did – admittedly after the proverbial fact – recapture a semblance of pride in a second half which they nominally shared in points distribution terms after the earlier shellacking.

It was a true “lead by example” display of defiance by the big man, positively infecting all around him in the fightback of sorts; there was clearly admiration during handshake time immediately afterwards from the conquering ‘Saders ranks, as well as kudos for his personal efforts from the New Zealand TV commentary panel.

Remember that Etzebeth – who must always be substituted with great reluctance by coach Robbie Fleck – would ideally have been hauled off once it became clear the Stormers, injuries hampering their depth in the engine-room and elsewhere, were going to have a fruitless day in the results column and immediate future challenges had to be considered.

Inevitably, he will be vital once again to the quest to turn around a two-game losing streak when the visitors tackle the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday (09:35 SA time), and he needs to be as fresh as possible.

Yet Etzebeth uncomplainingly soldiered on to the finish in Christchurch, after mid-match injuries to the likes of Chris van Zyl and rookie loose forward Cobus Wiese more or less forced him to stay at his post for the duration.

Later in the weekend educated, rational City Press columnist Simnikiwe Xabanisa, a media colleague I enduringly respect, wrote a piece suggesting Etzebeth needs to tone down his “crazy-eyed routine” and general penchant for arriving pretty sharply at any how’s-your-father flashpoints (if he’s not been some sort of central protagonist himself).

Look, Xabanisa may come to be proved right on this … perhaps Etzebeth is pushing boundaries to an unnecessary degree, and this will be reflected sooner or later in costly sanction.

But my take is nevertheless slightly different.

I believe that the very devil-eyed hallmark of the player in question is a key part of his motivational make-up, and that if he takes even small, conscious initiatives toward a less confrontational approach you may be stripping him of too much of the natural fire that powers him.

You may be effectively sending him into battle on one leg, rather than his sturdy, often rampaging two.

Rugby, for better or for worse, is much more rigorously policed than it used to be, with third eyes ever-present, whether they be greatly more empowered touch judges (sorry, assistant referees) or hawk-eyed television match officials.

But it is still an uncompromising, contact-based sport and the best forward packs, I am quite adamant, still require your earthy hardebaarde, whether they be in conventional play or when tempers bubble up and there is some pushing and shoving (very seldom do you see a genuine punch-up these days).

You need players who instinctively don’t and won’t take backwards steps, and Etzebeth happens to fall into this category.

But I am also in relatively unashamed defence of him because it is not as though the now 25-year-old is actually falling repeatedly foul of official disciplinary violations.

For someone who operates in the front-line of combat both in actual and testosterone-driven terms, Etzebeth has an astoundingly clean record in the “cards” department.

It may surprise you, in fact, to learn just how many times he has been either yellow- or red-carded in a 49-match Super Rugby career for the Stormers spanning five seasons to now from 2012 (he sat out all of the 2014 campaign injured) … if the annals I have trawled are accurate, not once.

And if you flip over into his international career, a 54-Test tenure to this point has seen him yellow-carded on a solitary occasion – against Australia at Brisbane last year (also his 50th cap) – and even then it was for the less-than-scandalous offence of not rolling away; he may well have been a fall guy with the Boks on a warning at the time for repeat penalties.

There was also a semblance of controversy and arguably injustice when, in his maiden Test season in 2012, he was cited after another Wallaby encounter for an “attempted” headbutt – sounds a bit like being half-killed? – on Nathan Sharpe and suspended for a fortnight.

One stint in the sin bin for the Boks from well over 50 Tests hardly suggests a serial problem, when you consider the gallery of disciplinary skulduggery of a predecessor in a No 4 shirt like Bakkies Botha.

Indeed, Etzebeth’s disciplinary integrity thus far, at least as far as international card-brandishing is concerned, stands up surprisingly well against forward compatriots like Schalk Burger (six in 86 Tests and the generally even-tempered Victor Matfield (five in 127).

Let sleeping dogs lie, I say.

And growling dogs … um, growl?

Thanks to…

Rob Houwing from 

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Fleck wants more from Stormers


Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck wants his team to lift their tempo and intensity when they face the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

Following their second defeat of the 2017 Super Rugby campaign, against the Crusaders in Christchurch, the Stormers will be looking to get back to winning ways at the Forsyth-Barr Stadium.

Fleck said that the team had taken some important lessons from the defeat, not least of which that the tempo and intensity of their effort must be taken to the next level.

“Obviously we need to work on a few things from the loss on the weekend,” he told the Stormers’ official website.

“We had a good discussion as a group and we will take the learnings from the Crusaders game and move on.

“The key learning from our side is that we haven’t faced linespeed like the Crusaders presented, where they really got off the line and put us under immense pressure.

“You need to be strong set-piece wise playing over here, but the key for us is to match that instensity and that tempo that the Kiwi sides play at.”

The Stormers coach knows it will not be easy against a quality Highlanders side playing on home turf, but says that his team will give it everything in an effort to lift their game.

“The Highlanders are a team that like to move the ball around and play an attacking sort of game,” added Fleck.

“They have got a lot of All Blacks so they are a very dangerous side, especially when they are playing in Dunedin.

“There are a lot of young kids in the squad who have never toured New Zealand and it is a fantastic opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world in one of the toughest environments.

“We are going to keep pushing from our side, we are trying to play with a high intensity.”

The Stormers were boosted this week by the availability of full-back SP Marais who has recovered from a groin injury and captain Siya Kolisi who was rested last week due to the Springbok management plan.

Stormers call Schickerling and Kobus van Dyk to New Zealand


Lock JD Schickerling and loose forward Kobus van Dyk will join the DHL Stormers in New Zealand as injury cover.

Both Dan du Plessis and Cobus Wiese are on their way home due to shoulder injuries sustained against the Crusaders in Christchurch and will be surgically assessed in Cape Town.

The other casualty from Christchurch is lock Chris van Zyl who has been ruled out for a week with concussion.

Schickerling and Van Dyk, who both made their Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the DHL Stormers in 2016, will join the team in Dunedin where they are preparing for their clash with the Highlanders on Friday.

Schickerling is returning from a minor ankle injury, whilst Van Dyk has starred for Maties in the Varsity Cup this year.

Treeby answers DHL Stormers SOS


New Zealand centre Shaun Treeby has joined the DHL Stormers on a short-term contract as injury cover in midfield.

The experienced Treeby will be with the DHL Stormers for the next four months, as they look to build on what has been an encouraging start to their 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

Director of Rugby Gert Smal said that with three international centres out injured, it was important to bring in an established player as cover.

“Having lost Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh and Huw Jones to injury this year we needed some experience in midfield and I am sure that Shaun will have a positive impact here in his time with us,” he said.

Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks said that he is excited to see what value Treeby adds to the squad.

“Shaun made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2011 and has amassed 50 caps, so he is expected to have a big impact here at DHL Newlands.

“He is a proven competitor and can only help some of the talented young players around him to grow in the absence of some quality players we have unfortunately lost through injury this season,” he said.

DHL Stormers smash Toyota Cheetahs


The Stormers, outscored, outplayed and outsmart the Cheetahs on Saturday scoring 8 tries to 1 in beating them 53-10.

Game started as expected with both teams trying ech other out on defense with some strong runs from the forwards linking with the backs.

The Stormers got the first penalty for points which Du Preez got over to give them the early lead of 3-0 after 5 min.

The Stormers got the first try over with some great hands and Leyds over in the corner to take the lead to 8-0.

The Stormers truned it on again with SP Marias who took a nice line and through the Cheetahs defense. This gave the Stormers a 15-3 lead.

While the Stormers attack looked good first up the Cheeths attack looked aimless and with no plan which they found easy to defend against.

Picking Lee on the wing seemed to have been a big mistake from Smith as both Leyds tries came from poor defense from Lee.

The Stormers went into the lead at the break with 22-3 dominating the game.

The Stormers did not led up a they score their forth try straight after halftime with SP Marais again the man that created the space. This gave them a 29-3 lead.

The Cheetahs got their frist try from a five meter lineout which they drive over to reduce the lead to 29-10.

Du Preez then add some magic with  little kick over the defense nd garther it himself which he scored the Stormers 5th try of the match.

The Stormers then turned to their forwards to work their wy over and score their 6th try of the match.

The Stormers then displayed their qaulity in the offload and quick hands to score yet another try which gave them a 48-10 lead.

The Stormers still had one more in store as they finished the match with eight tries to beat the Cheetahs 53-10.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Tries: Leyds 2, Nothse 3, Du Plessis, Du Preez, Kolisi
Cons: Du Preez 4, Coleman
Pen: Du Preez

For Cheetahs:
Try: Schoeman
Con: Zeilinga
Pen: Zeilinga

Sunwolves gives DHL Stormers an almighty scare


The Stormers was given an almighty scare on Saturday when the Sunwolves outplayed them in the first 50 min of the match leading them for most of the match. They eventually got over the line through some great play from their forwards to win 44-31.

It was a confident start for the Stormers as they got into the Sunwolves half and got the first penalty over to get a 3-0 lead.

The Stormers then made a comedy of errors giving the Sunwolves a change to get over for the first try and in the process Elstadt was given a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

That gave the Sunwolves a 7-3 lead and the Stormers with 14-men for ten minutes.

The Sunwolves got into Stormers half again and got another penalty over to make the socre 10-3.

The Stormers then put some brilliant play together with Leyds cutting through the Sunwolves and some great hands lead to EW Viljoen to score their first try.

The Sunwolves took advantage of another handling error from Stormers, keeping the ball in hand and score in the corner.

That gave them the lead again with 17-10.

The Stormers defense was aweful through out that first twenty minutes and the Sunwolves again found it too easy to get through and their thrid try.

This gave the Sunwolves a 24-10 lead with the Stormers to play catchup rugby

The Stormers started to keep the ball with the forwards and went through plenty phases to socre at the end and reduced the score to 24-17.

The Stormers also slotted over a penalty before the break to give the Sunwolves a 24-20 lead.

The Sunwolves started the same way as they played throughout the first and the Stormers defense kept being pretty poor as they scored another try to get the scoreboard to 31-20.

The Stormers took it again with their forwards to score another try working hard for it to make the score 31-27 after 54 min.

The Stormers got Senatla running down the line and with good supporting play and a strong run from DU Preez got over for another try.

That gave then the lead of 34-31 after 62 min

The Stormers on attack lost Kebble for a yellow card after a silly tackle and gave the Sunwolves the chance to ge back in the match.

The Stormers kept the pressure on the Sunwolves which kept them in the Sunwolves half of the field.

The Stormers kept the ball again with forwards and they scored another try to take the lead 39-31 after 78 minutes.

They got a final try after the hooter to take the scoreboard to 44-31 at the end but they had to work hard for that win.

Serious questions should be asked about their defensive structures and defesne coach as they were exployeded by the Sunwolves in that first half.

The scorers:

For Sunwolves:
Tries: Carpenter 2, Emi, Moli
Cons: Ogura 4
Pen: Ogura
Yellow Card: Shigeno

For Stormers:
Tries: Viljoen, Elstadt, Louw, Duvenage, Mbonambi, Basson
Cons: Du Preez 4
Pens: Du Preez 2
Yellow Cards: Elstadt, Kebble

Jones setback for Stormers


DHL Stormers centre Huw Jones has torn his hamstring playing for Scotland in the Six Nations and will undergo surgery in London.

This means that Jones will not be able to train for four to five months as he joins fellow DHL Stormers midfielders Juan de Jongh and Damian de Allende on the sidelines.

De Jongh’s Grade Three medial collateral ligament tear is progressing well and he is expected to be back in action in six weeks, whilst De Allende has another six to eight weeks before he will be able to return from his Syndesmosis ankle injury.

Cheslin Kolbe (ankle sprain) and Jano Vermaak (calf strain) will both return to training next week and should be in contention to play against the Toyota Cheetahs at DHL Newlands on April 1.

Flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis is progressing well following a pelvic bone stress injury and should be available for selection in three to five weeks time.

Flank Steph de Wit is mobilising slowly after fracturing his ankle, with the bone healing well after surgery.

On the long-term injury list hooker Scarra Ntubeni is running at full pace in a controlled environment as he continues to make progress following his Achilles tendon rupture sustained last year, whilst wing Leolin Zas is mobilising well after surgery on his broken Tibia and Fibula.

Stormers leave Du Toit and Etzebeth at home


DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 25-man squad for the trip to Singapore where they will face the Sunwolves this weekend.

Fleck’s charges have won all three of their matches thus far this season, having beaten the Vodacom Bulls and Jaguares at DHL Newlands before travelling to Port Elizabeth where they overcame the Southern Kings.

Having come off a bye in Round Four, the DHL Stormers will be aiming to make it four wins from four games when they face the Sunwolves at the National Stadium in Singapore on Saturday, March 25.

Captain Siya Kolisi is back to lead a squad which has a good blend of youth and experience, after he was rested for the Southern Kings clash.

Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe and Pieter-Steph du Toit were not considered for selection due to the Springbok management plan, whilst the likes of Huw Jones, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Jano Vermaak, Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Steph de Wit, Leolin Zas and Scarra Ntubeni are all currently sidelined with injuries.

Fleck said that it will be vital for his team to capitalise on the momentum they have built early in the campaign in what will be a testing outing against the Sunwolves.

“We have made an encouraging start to the campaign, but we cannot afford to drop intensity coming off our bye week.

“We know how tough the Sunwolves can be on home turf, so it will be crucial that we maintain our focus for 80 minutes if we are to get the desired result,” he said.

DHL Stormers touring squad: Bjorn Basson, Kurt Coleman, Jan de Klerk, Dan du Plessis, Robert du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Rynhardt Elstadt, JC Janse van Rensburg, Oli Kebble, Siya Kolisi (Kolisi), Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Godlen Masimla, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Ramone Samuels, JD Shickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Frans van Wyk, Chris van Zyl, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse.

Stormers loose Du Plessis


The Stormers will have to do without the service of their young and upcoming flyhalf Jean-Luc Du Plessis after he was ruled out for four to six weeks with a groin injury.

The 22-year-old went for scans on Monday and will not be available for the Stormers. He has been playing some great rugby for the Stormers this season so far and this will surely give Robert Du Preez an extended run at the number 10 jumper.


For the Stormers there were no new injuries sustained in the 41-10 Super Rugby victory against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

The Stormers are on a bye week in Round 4 before returning to action away in Singapore against the Sunwolves later this month.

DHL Stormers get win over Southern Kings


The Stormers was just too good for the Southern Kings when they beat them on Saturday with 41-10.

The Kings started the game with ball in hand but moved backwards through some great defense from Stormers putting allot of pressure on them.

Playing in Stormers half the Kings forced a penalty to took the early lead of 3-0 after 7 min. The Stormers had a good break and only a turnover from Cloete stopped them from scoring the first try.

Cronje manage to control the game and put the Kings in the right areas of the field in the first 10 min.

It took a great pass from Du Preez to Leyds that ran down the line to get pass some ordinary defense from the Kings to score the first try of the match.

The things heated up a bit with the referee that had to step in but nothing much than a penalty to the Kings.

The game did not get going really with both teams fighting it out from one side to another and it was Basson at the end of a break to score the Stormers second try of the match and a lead of 12-3.

The Stormers slowing started to dominated the play and had more ball to play with but the Kings defense did hold most of these attacks.

With the domination, the Stormers played more and more with their forwards getting over the advantage line and were able to keep ball in hand to send Elstadt over in the corner for their third of the match.

This gave the Stormers a 17-3 at the break and in control over the match.

The Stormers took only four minutes to break the Kings defense again through Du Plessis and it was Du Preez at the end who went over.

The Kings got their first try through Mapimpi after a perfect kick through from Cronje. This made the score 24-10 for the Stormers.

The Stormers still made more of the play and had the better of the field position as well but Kings defense was good at times to keep them out.

SP Marais got the perfect gap and send Phillips over for another Stormers try with 5 min to play and made the score 34-10.

There was still time for one more score by the Stormers as Viljoen ended the match and the a good win for the Stormers with 41-10.

Stats by Vodacom Rugby

The scorers:

For Kings:
Tries: Mapimpi
Cons: Cronje
Pens: Cronje

For Stormers:
Tries: Leyds, Basson, Elstadt, Du Preez, Phillips, Viljoen
Cons: Du Preez 2, Coleman 2
Pens: Du Preez


SR Preview – DHL Stormers v Southern Kings


Playing some of the weaker teams early on in the competition can be tricky with most players still fresh and not too many injuries to disrupt the setup which makes this match for the Stormers against the Kings a very important one in the bigger scheme of things.

The Kings are coming off a pretty useful win over the struggling Sunwolves and will fancy their changes against a Stormers team that had to make changes again after injuries.

The Stormers will be going for three out of three when they travel to PE and anything less would be disappointing to say the lease. Etzebeth will also lead the side while Kolisi are being rested for this match. We also see former Bulls wing Bjorn Basson to make his debut for his new franchise on the wing on Saturday.

Coach Robbie Fleck mad two changes up front with Kebble and Frans Malherbe making their first start with Mbonambi at hooker. Koliso place on the side of the scrum is taken by Notshe and Carr comes in to take the number 8 jumper.

At the back Fleck brought in Duvenage at nine and he will be partner with Robert Du Preez who is coming in for the injured Du Plessis.

In the midfield Dan Du Plessis(son of Micheal Du Plessis) wil make his first appearance of the season.

There are also three potential Vodacom Super Rugby debutants on the replacements bench, with loose forward Jaco Coetzee, scrumhalf Justin Phillips and utility back Damian Willemse all in line to earn their first DHL Stormers cap.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is focused on building on the two victories that they have earned this season.

“This will be our first away game of the campaign after two good wins at DHL Newlands and we would like to see further improvements in our game this weekend. We always get great support as a team in Port Elizabeth, so we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday,” he said.

Southern Kings coach, Davids made five changes to his side for Saturdays clash. Following a spate of injuries at lock, the Southern Kings were pleased to have Irne Herbst fit for the Cape derby, after the lofty second-rower recovered from a concussion that ruled him out of last weekend’s clash with the Sunwolves in Singapore.

The Southern Kings will also begin the match with a new flank combination, as opensider Chris Cloete and blindside loose-forward Thembelani Bholi get their first starts of the season.

With the Southern Kings losing both their scrumhalves to injury in Singapore last week – Louis Schreuder with a concussion and Rudi van Rooyen an ankle injury – Rick Schroeder will be getting his Vodacom Super Rugby debut on Saturday.

Centre Luzuko Vulindlu, who came off the bench in the Southern Kings’ first two matches of the season, will get a starting berth this weekend in a rotational change which sees Berton Klaasen moving to the bench.

Vulindlu will start in the No12 jersey and the experienced Waylon Murray, who played at inside centre in the past two matches, moving to outside centre

The guys understand that they have to grab their opportunities with both hands. It’s all about performing in the Kings jersey,” coach Davids said.

Ricky (Schroeder) has been knocking on the door, and I’m glad he’s getting this opportunity now. He will have to make it worthwhile. “I’ve rotated Luzuko Vulindlu and Berton Klaasen for our centre combination. I feel that Waylon Murray, with this experience, at No13 will be good for us.

Head to Head

Games Kings wins Draws Stormers wins Kings points Stormers points
Overall: 3 0 0 3 47 95
At home: 1 0 0 1 12 24
Average points scored per game 47.33

Previous meetings between these two sides

Date Home Team Away Team Score Winner
2013-06-01 Stormers Kings 19 – 11 Stormers
2013-07-06 Kings Stormers 12 – 24 Stormers
2016-07-16 Stormers Kings 52 – 24 Stormers

Prediction: Should be an easy win for the Stormers and maybe even their first bonus point win of the season


Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Luzuko Vulinduli, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Rick Schroeder, 8 Riaan Lerm, 7 Themelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c)
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Willem van der Sluys, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Berton Klaasen

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris Van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse