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DHL Stormers – 2017 season in review

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Scorers:

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′)

CHEETAHS

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 ?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

11

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

8

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

Scorers:

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

0

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?

1

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

5

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

0

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

0

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

6

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

6

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

0

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

3

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

0

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

0

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

0

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

Teams: 

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

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Etzebeth lead Stormers against Kings

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Lock Eben Etzebeth will captain the DHL Stormers for the first time in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Etzebeth will lead the side at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi who is being rested for this match.

There are two changes in the front row, with props Oli Kebble and Frans Malherbe making their first starts of the season on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

Kolisi’s place at flank is taken by Sikhumbuzo Notshe, with Nizaam Carr back in the starting line-up at No.8.

In the backline Dewaldt Duvenage will form a halfback partnership with Robert du Preez, with Jano Vermaak and Jean-Luc du Plessis ruled out through injury.

Centre Dan du Plessis will make his first appearance of the season in place of the injured Dan Kriel, whilst out wide Cheslin Kolbe’s ankle injury means that Bjorn Basson will make his DHL Stormers debut.

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.

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson (DHL Stormers debut), 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 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 (Vodacom Super Rugby debut), 21 Justin Phillips (Vodacom Super Rugby debut), 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse (Vodacom Super Rugby debut).

Stormers loose Kriel, Du Plessis and Kolbe for Kings clash

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The DHL Stormers will have to take on the Southern Kings this weekend without a few of their backs which will make way for yet another shuffel in the back line.

Kolbe, Jean-Luc Du Plessis and Dan Kriel will not be playing this weekend after last week win over the Jaguares at Newlands.

Kolbe sustain a lateral ankle ligament injury with Kriel and Du Plessis being rested as precautionary measurement.

Both Kriel and Du Plessis sustain minor groin strains.

The Kings will host the Stormers in PE at 15:00 on Saturday and will be broadcast live on Super Sport.

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DHL delivers longest standing partnership with WP Rugby in history

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DHL has renewed its multi million rand contract as title sponsor of Western Province Rugby for a further four year period commencing 2017, making it the longest standing title sponsorship in Western Province Rugby’s history.

The terms of the sponsorship continue to include naming rights to the home stadium of Western Province Rugby, DHL Newlands.

Commenting on the renewed, award-winning sponsorship, Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks said, “Having the support of a major brand such as DHL makes a huge difference to the team and management and enables us to work in a high performance environment.”

DHL, which also partners with World Rugby Sevens Series, Manchester United and Formula One to name a few, signed its initial three year agreement with Western Province Rugby and the DHL Stormers in 2011. Fast forward six years, and they could not be more thrilled with the success, return on investment and development of the partnership.

Hennie Heymans, CEO for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa commented, “Having been a partner to Western Province Rugby for the past 6 years, we consider ourselves an extension of the team. The partnership has been instrumental in making DHL a household name in Cape Town, and South Africa. The DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province brand is much loved not only across South Africa but across the globe. DHL is the most international company in the world and partnering with like-minded brands with the same shared values of teamwork, excellence, passion and speed are key to our success. We are committed to remaining hands-on, responsible partners to Western Province Rugby. The years ahead will be the best ones yet.”

Megan Roper, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa added, “Sponsorships have evolved from merely showcasing one’s logo. We view this sponsorship as a partnership – an opportunity for us to add value, emotionalize our brand and demonstrate our logistics capabilities. We too have evolved from being just a B2B company to being even more consumer facing and in touch with our customers across more touchpoints than ever before, driven mostly by the rise of e-commerce.”

Going forward, DHL will continue to leverage the partnership through traditional and online media channels to drive brand engagement, with an additional focus of expanding the partnership across borders.

Recently, DHL took two DHL Stormers players, Siya Kolisi (new DHL Stormers captain for 2017) and Scarra Ntubeni, to visit the company’s operations in Lagos, Nigeria to give them a feel for what the business looks like in West Africa and to experience the Nigerian culture. This not only exposed Siya and Scarra to a new country, but was a great exercise to further pique the interest in rugby in Nigeria.

“DHL is a leading international brand and our association with them lends us prestige. We are proud to have a title sponsor like DHL and look forward to standing together with them as one,” commented Thelo Wakefield, President of Western Province Rugby Football Union.

Stormers made to work hard fro win over Jaguares

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The Stormers were made to work very hard for their second win in the season over the Jaguares when they beat them 32-25 at Newlands on Saturday.

Allot was expected from this clash with both the Jagaures and the Stormers winning last week and everyone expected a great tussle between the forwards.

Both teams tried to spread the ball wide and gave their runners the opertunity to run with the ball but a penalty a piece was the first points on the board.

The Jaguares scored the first try through a drive to take the lead to 8-3.

It took the Stormers not long to get their frist try with some great play from Vermaak. The Stormers took the lead with 10-8 and soon after that Jano Vermaak scored a brilliant try to extend their lead to 17-8.

The rest of the half was not dominted by one team as both made too many mistakes on attack. Defense from bot teams was good enough to prevent any more tries in the match but the Jaguares did get a penalty over before halftime.

This gave the Stormers a 17-11 lead at the break and the gae for the taking in the second half.

It was the Stormers with a penalty that got the first points on the board for the second half to extend their led to 20-11.

The Jaguares took a bit of control of the ball and they were rewarded with a try to close the gap to only 20-18 after 52 min.

Stormers somewhat lost a bit composer in the middle part of the second half giving the Jaguares enough ball to play from and attack.

Jaguares then had two men send off for yellow cards one for bringing the Stormers drive down and another for slapping the ball down.

That gave the Stormers a penalty try from the scrum which gave the Stormers a lead of 27-18 after 65 min.

The Jaguares hit immediately back with some poor defense from Stormers to pull the led of the Stormers back to only 27-25 after 68 min.

The Stormers then put the best piece of play together to score a brilliant try through SP Marais and took their lead to 32-15 with 6 min to go.

At the end the Stormers had enough for the win but did not had one of their best games and had to work hard for the win

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Tries: Viljoen, Vermaak, Penalty Try, Marais
Cons: Du Plessis 2, Penalty Try, Du Preez
Pens: Du Plessis 2

For Jaguares:
Tries: Creevy, Cordero 2
Cons: Sánchez, González Iglesias
Pens: Sánchez 2
Yellow Cards: Matera, Moroni

 

SR Preview – Stormers v Jaguares

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Stormers fans are expecting much more from their team this weekend when they host the Jaguares on Saturday. They had the best start possible beating the Bulls last week but more than winning they game it was how they did it that excite people.

It will be a hard game against the Jaguares who have plenty of quality in their side and they also had a great win over the Kings last week. There is still a worry on the amount of yellow cards they gave away in matches but that is something they have been working hard on.

The Stormers was hit with yet another injury blow when De Allende was ruled and coach Fleck picked Dan Kriel to cover the inside centre position this weekend. Notshe also gets a start at number eight with Carr moving to the bench

The only other change to the matchday 23 that did duty in the 37-24 victory against the Bulls last week sees World Sevens Player of the Year Seabelo Senatla named as a replacement, putting him in line to earn his first Stormers cap since 2015.

Fleck said that he would like to see his team build on their performance last week against what is a very competitive Jaguares team.

The win last week was encouraging, but there is still much we can improve on and we will be tested against a Jaguares team full of internationals,” he said.

The Jaguares have strengthen their side with international fly-half Nicolás Sánchez coming into the side. Ramiro Moyano  also take his place on the wing which moves Matías Moroni to the bench

Up front Santiago García Botta is at loosehead, replacing Lucas Noguera Paz, with the forwards otherwise unchanged from Port Elizabeth.

The Stormers should have enough to take the game but the free flowing way these Jaguares are playing can cause for an upset at Newlands on Saturday.

Prediction: This should be a 15 point win for the Stormers but they have to be on par otherwise a surprise can be on the board.

Teams:

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Seabelo Senatla

Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Santiago García Botta
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Cristian Bartoloni, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Benjamín Macome, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Moroni

Vodacom Super Rugby Log

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De Allende out for 12 weeks

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DHL Stormers centre Damian de Allende has been ruled out of action for approximately 12 weeks with an ankle injury.

De Allende sustained the syndesmosis injury in the second half of the DHL Stormers 37-24 victory against the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

The midfielder joins the likes of Scarra Ntubeni (achilles), Leolin Zas (leg) and Juan de Jongh (knee) on the DHL Stormers injury list.

The Bulls……the good, bad and ugly

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A lacklustre first half from the Blue Bulls has many fans calling them out as frauds already. The Stormers were brilliant, as they were last season in the opening game. However Super Rugby remains a marathon and not a sprint. The champions, the Hurricanes opened the season with a 0-2 record and still managed to recover, tweak their game plan sufficiently to win the title.

Now, the Blue Bulls will be aiming for the play-offs this season and this match could have been more beneficial than harmful. They will be playing in a difficult conference and have received a rude awakening. In their first seven games – they have one home game and they need to learn, step up and move on quickly. The Bulls should be fine.

The Good – Players that showed up

The Bulls can take a lot of positives from their opening game. The performances of Travis Ismaiel, Rudy Paige, RG Snyman, Jacques Potgieter, Hanro Liebenberg and the bench were encouraging. Individually they had some promising and dominant performances. The four tries the Bulls scored had a combination of tackle busts, offloads and interlinking between backs and forwards.

The efforts of Hanro and Potgieter proved to be pivotal in defence and on attack as the pair made dominant hits and Hanro in particular breached the gain-line at will. This bodes well for the season. The impact injected by the entire bench in particular will give Nollis a few reasons to smile about.

Bad –Defensive work

The Blue Bulls have started slowly over the years and this was a resemblance of their match against the Lions a few years ago in the Currie Cup, were they started slowly only to hit back in the second half despite losing. The Loftus outfit need to start matches far better, playing catch-up is never ideal especially with Kiwi opponents around the corner.

Conceding five tries in your first game will be disappointing. The Bulls tackled effectively, but their systematic lapses cost them the game. Their defensive work was affected by an ineffective scrum.

The pressure applied at the breakdown was commendable from the Stormers pack with Pieter Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Etzebeth combining for several counter-rucks which led to one of the tries on the day. The Bulls’ ball retention was not up to standard, with many players standing off to carry before securing possession. The lapse in concentration after getting back into the game every time – costly. A direct result of the poor start the away side had.

Pollard

In the long run, he will improve. The general has a lot of pressure on him and he has to get on with the job. Playing with limited territory stems from the Bulls’ limited ‘out of hand’ kicking options. The Bulls looked to Rudy Paige and leaned on Handre Pollard a lot more.

Pollard was evidently rusty, off the mark and at some stages seemed as though the pressure of being the ‘Saviour of SA Rugby’ was weighing heavily on his shoulders. Missing kicks at goal and having kicks charged down saw him have a game to forget. The Bulls back line had several glitches that should be easily fixed when you look at alignment, footwork and being a bit deeper. This should improve the handling. The backs battled to get going and the introduction of Warrick Gelant and Tian Schoeman improved the Bulls to an extent. Pollard needs to rediscover form soon, much is expected from him. The return of Jan Serfontein will aid Pollard in the coming week.

Ugly – Set-piece

The strategy to play off quick-taps and avoid line-outs worked for the Stormers, but it was their dominant pack that exposed the poor Bulls scrum which needs to see the doctor this week. Maybe a quick call to Os du Randt could help. Trevor Nyakane struggled and the big man has continued to struggle at tight head like the Sharks’ Coenie Oosthuizen and Thomas du Toit who are part of the failing experimental switch from the left side of the scrum. To add insult to injury, the Bulls hooker didn’t seem to help Trevor much and the scrum was a source of four penalties for the Stormers and two tries. The scrum needs to be stable and is a platform on attack and defence. The Bulls line out will also need to improve with more pressure set to be on Jaco Visagie who had a few bad throws and struggled in the scrum.

Stormers get the perfect start against Bulls

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It was one of the better matches of the weekend when the Stormers beat the Bulls on Saturday 37-24.

The game started with a crazy pace and the Stormers were quickly in the faces of the Bulls putting huge pressure on the Bulls.

They enjoyed early territory with the Bulls having to defend for all they were worth.

With a few opportunities the Stormers could not get passed the Bulls scrabbling defense. It was the Bulls on attack with Etzebeth getting a turnover in their own half and a quick tap from penalty resulted in a try for SP Marais.

That gave the Stormers a 7-0 lead. The Stormers kept the pressure on and moved quickly back into Bulls half and forced another penalty which Du Plessis kick over.

That took the score to 10-0 after 20 min.

The Stormers kept the pressure and played in Bulls half and with a great little touch from Viljoen, Kolbe got over for the Stormers second try.

This gave the Stormers a 17-0 lead and the Bulls struggling. The Stormers just kept on the pressure and scored their third try just before the half time hooter with Carr going over.

The Stormers had a good 24-0 lead going into the break.

The Bulls came out in the second half and put pressure on the Stormers from the start and scored their first try.

The Stormers hit back immediately and scored their forth try through their captain Kolisi in the corner which gave them a 29-5 lead.

It took the Bulls not long to get their second try as they got into the Stormers half from the restart. They scored their second try through Schoeman to take the led down to 29-12.

The Stormers got another penalty before the Bulls scored their third try which got the scoreboard to 32-17 after 62 min.

Some brilliant play from Stormers team interacting between forwards and backs got Leyds over in the corner to take the score to 37-17.

The Stormers kept the pressure on to try and get that bonus point try but Bulls defense hold strong.

At the end it was the Bulls that scored the final try of the match with the Stormers winning the game 37-24.

Scorers:

Stormers – Tries: SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe, Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi, Dillyn Leyds. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (3). Penalties: Du Plessis (2).
Bulls – Tries: Hanro Liebenberg (2), Pierre Schoeman, Piet van Zyl. Conversion: Pollard, Tian Schoeman.

SR Preview – Stormers v Bulls

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It is a north versus south derby in the last match of the opening weekend of Super Rugby when the Bulls travel to Cape Town to face the Stormers on Saturday, where they have not won since 2011.

One always expect a huge match against these two teams when they face in Super Rugby or Currie Cup and you can expect the same come Saturday evening. The Stormers had some great result in the pre-season matches but that normally counts for nothing especially when you open your account against a great Bulls side.

The Stormers have been hit in pre-season with some crucial injures which will see EW Viljoen starting the match on the wing. We also see that the back three will consist of SP Marais, Kolbe and Leyds.

With a great kicking game these three can expect some major bombs on them from the Bulls and a part of the game where the men from Cape Town have lost games before.

Viljoen will be partner with De Allende in the midfield with Vermaak partnering with Jean-Luc du Plessis at half back.

Kolisi is joined in the loose trio by Nizaam Carr and Rynhardt Elstadt, whilst vice-captain Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit will be in the second row and up front props Wilco Louw and JC Janse van Rensburg will flank hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

The Stormers have two debutants on the replacements bench in the form of hooker Ramone Samuels and utility back Dan Kriel.

The start of a new season is always an exciting time and for us to play at Newlands makes the occasion all the more special,” said head coach Robbie Fleck.

We are determined to show our faithful fans what we can do in what should be a cracking game on Saturday.

For the Bulls Lood De Jager will make his first appearance for the Bulls in Super Rugby after he moved in the off-season from Bloem to Pretoria.

He will be partner with RG Snyman and it will be a great tussle between Etzebeth, Du Toit and Snyman, De Jager.  The Bulls are boost with five Springboks in their team for Saturday and will want these players to make that step up against the Stormers.

De Jager is one of four newcomers to the Bulls team in their opening fixture of the competition.

Edgar Marutlulle and Jacobie Adriaanse (Lions and Southern Kings) have already played at this level and will make their Bulls debuts when called upon from the bench, while back-up flanker, Ruan Steenkamp will make his Bulls and Super Rugby debut if he takes to the field.

Pollard returns after a year on the sideline to lead the team for the first time as captain

Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, was keen to get the season underway, despite the massive challenge they face in round one.

You need to beat the best teams in the competition if you want to win it and to be honest, there will be no easy games,” he said.

The Stormers will pose a massive challenge, no doubt, but that will be a good benchmark for us at the start of our campaign. We have realistic expectations this year and with a good start, we believe we can still be involved come the final weekends.”

Marais was happy with his squad, despite missing a number of players.

We are without proven players such as Adriaan (Strauss), Arno (Botha), Jan (Serfontein) and Roelof (Smit), but that is the nature of this competition. Fact is, we have some serious talent in this group and we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to do justice to that,” Marais said.

Pollard promised a competitive effort.

Look, this is one of the classic matches on the calendar and we look forward to this challenge. The Stormers are a class team and playing them at home is probably the toughest start of all in the competition,” he said.

That said, we have the belief in the squad and the confidence that we can do well this year. We now need to go out there and show our worth.”

Prediction: The Bulls just look good this year and the young players from last season are one year stronger and wiser. The Stormers can be a great team on the day but I do not see any game breakers in this team.  I believe Pollard will control the match and steer his team to their first win since 2011 at Newlands. Bulls to win by 10 plus points.

Teams:

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Rob du Preez

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Trevor Nyakane , 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Replacemenst: 16 Edgar Marutlelle, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant

Kolisi and Etzebeth takes leadership at Stormers

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Loose forward Siya Kolisi has been appointed as captain of the DHL Stormers in 2017, with lock Eben Etzebeth his vice-captain.

The 25-year-old has earned 76 caps for the DHL Stormers since making his debut in 2012 and will be ably assisted by his good friend and fellow Springbok Etzebeth.

Both players have walked a long road together within the structures of Western Province Rugby since attending the Western Province Rugby Institute in 2010, along with the likes of Frans Malherbe, Nizaam Carr and Scarra Ntubeni who are all still their teammates.

DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that Kolisi will be well supported by a strong core of senior players within the squad as they tackle a demanding 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.

“We have developed a number of strong leaders in this group, so Siya will certainly not be shouldering the responsibility on his own, but we felt it important to appoint someone who the team can rally around.

“Although still quite young, Siya is already an experienced player who has matured both on and off the field and is one of the most popular and respected players in our squad,” he said.

Kolisi said that it is an honour to be asked to captain the DHL Stormers, which is a responsibility that he does not take lightly.

“There have been some great players who have led the DHL Stormers out at DHL Newlands, so for me to be amongst them is both a great privilege and a great responsibility.

“With the support of Eben and the rest of the senior players in the squad I am confident that we can create something special that our fans can be proud of,” he said.

Etzebeth said that having played alongside Kolisi in a DHL Stormers jersey for five seasons, he is looking forward to the new challenge that lies ahead of them.

“Siya and I have played together for a long time and I am honoured to stand beside him as we look to take the DHL Stormers to the next level,” he said.

Tickets for the DHL Stormers’ clash with the Vodacom Bulls are available from wprugby.computicket.com or any Computicket outlet.

Season ticket renewals and sales for DHL Newlands in 2017 are open. Go to wprugby.computicket.com to secure your seat today.

No co-captains this year for Stormers

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All the stars are aligned for Siya Kolisi to take the captancy of the Stormers this year in Super Rugby.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck will announce his captain on Tuesday for the season. He decided to move away from the co-captain method he used last year when he used De Jongh and Malherbe as co-captains for the Stormers.

The co-captaincy was my idea and I was in favour of it last year as we had a young group of leaders,” said Fleck on Monday.

However, I have consulted with the team over this and the preference is for one captain who the guys can identify as the leader and can base themselves around. So we will have a captain and a vice-captain, and it will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday) as we have only just informed the players of the choice of captain.”

Fleck said that while the Stormers would have one identified leader in the absence of the injured Juan de Jongh, who will miss most of the season through injury, there would still be a wider group of senior players that would form the leadership group.

We have identified seven guys who will share the responsibilities,” said the coach.

Fleck agreed that the experience of Schalk Burger will be missed in the coming Super Rugby season.

Schalk was of course a legend and a great player and we had him as the leader who was backing up the co-captains (De Jongh and Malherbe) last year. Once there were injuries and Juan had gone to play Sevens, Schalk ended up taking the captaincy reins and I commented on the time about what a great job he did and what a great impact he had.

“However, Schalk has moved on now, as has the other long time leader in Jean de Villiers, and I am confident we have players who can step into the void that has been left and take on the responsibilities. In Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth we have experienced players that the team can base themselves around.”

The Stormers kick off their campaign this weekend at home against the Bulls

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DHL Stormers 2017 squad announced

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DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck has named a 45-man squad ahead of the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The group has a good blend of youth and experience, with five players under the age of 21 and 10 players with over 50 Vodacom Super Rugby caps to their name.

Fleck said that after a hard pre-season, it was difficult to cut the squad down to just 45 names, which is testament to the depth he has at his disposal.

“This squad is missing players like Scarra Ntubeni, Leolin Zas and Steph de Wit due to long-term injuries, but there is certainly plenty of talent here.

“The players who did not make it onto this list are by no means out of the reckoning and could well still play an important role for us this season in what we all know will be a tough campaign,” he said.

The DHL Stormers coach said that the players and management cannot wait to get going with their preparations for their opening game against the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday, February 25.

“Everyone has worked incredibly hard in the last few months building up to this and we are very keen to get out there and show our faithful fans what we are capable of,” he added.

Tickets for the DHL Stormers’ clash with the Vodacom Bulls are available from wprugby.computicket.com or any Computicket outlet.

Season ticket renewals and sales for DHL Newlands in 2017 are open. Go to wprugby.computicket.com to secure your seat today.

DHL Stormers squad: Juarno Augustus, Bjorn Basson, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Coetzee, Kurt Coleman, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jan de Klerk, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dan du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Rob du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Rynhardt Elstadt, Eben Etzebeth, Huw Jones, Oli Kebble, Cheslin Kolbe, Siya Kolisi, Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Godlen Masimla, SP Marais, Bongi Mbonambi, Dean Muir, Khanyo Ngcukana, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Justin Phillips, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Marnus Schoeman, Seabelo Senatla, Chad Solomon, JC Janse van Rensberg, Frans van Wyk, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, Jano Vermaak, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse, Eduard Zandberg.

Psychologist says goodbye to Stormers

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Sport psychologist Henning Gericke has ended his association with the Stormers.

Gericke, 56, was contracted to the Cape franchise until July 2017, but told Netwerk24 he will no longer work with the team.

Gericke first joined the Stormers in April 2014, shortly after Gert Smal was appointed as WP Rugby’s director of rugby.

Previously Gericke worked with the Springboks when they won the 2007 Rugby World Cup under Jake White.

Gericke, who has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pretoria, is well renowned in his field and also worked with South Africa’s swimming team ahead of the 2012 Olympics, while also helping the Proteas cricket team in the past.

During Gericke’s tenure at the Stormers and Western Province, the Capetonians achieved relative success.

Western Province won the Currie Cup in 2014, were beaten finalists the following year, and lost in the semi-finals in 2016.

The Stormers won the South African Conference in the 2015 Super Rugby season, before losing heavily (39-19) in a home playoff to the Brumbies.

In 2016, the team topped Africa Conference 1, before once again losing convincingly (60-21) in the quarter-finals at Newlands, this time to the Chiefs.

Thanks to

Kebble set to join Glasgow Warriors

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DHL Stormers prop Oli Kebble will join the Glasgow Warriors at the conclusion of the 2017 season on a two-year deal.

The 24-year-old former Junior Springbok made his DHL Stormers debut in 2014 and has since earned 34 Vodacom Super Rugby caps.

Kebble is contracted to Western Province Rugby until the end of the 2017 season and will head to Scotland once he has concluded his commitments in Cape Town

The move to Glasgow will not be Kebble’s first time in the UK as he previously studied at Dulwich College in London and was part of the London Irish Academy.

Director of Rugby Gert Smal said that Kebble has grown enormously in his time with the Union.

“Oli has come a long way in his time with us and leaves us a rounded player who has a lot to offer,” he said.

Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks said that Kebble’s contribution to the Union has been greatly appreciated.

“We are very grateful for Oli’s contribution and we were certainly not going to stand in the way of what is a great opportunity for him to further his career in Scotland,” he said.

President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Mr Thelo Wakefield, thanked Kebble for his service to both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

“Oli Kebble has been a highly committed player in his time here with us and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” he said.

Stormers pay price for win over Lions

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Leolin Zas and Juan de Jongh suffered serious injuries in the Stormers’ pre-season friendly against the Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Stormers beat the Lions 57-40 at Newlands in their last Super Rugby warm-up fixture, but the win came at a significant cost after Zas suffered a broken leg and De Jongh tore knee ligaments.

On Monday, the Stormers confirmed that Zas had fractured both his fibula and tibia after coming on as a replacement, and ruled out of action for a year.

De Jongh tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and will be sidelined for between 10-12 weeks.

It is not clear whether coach Robbie Fleck will replace the backline duo for the Super Rugby campaign.

Basson signs with Stormers

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Springbok wing Bjorn Basson has signed with the DHL Stormers for the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The experienced outside back joins the DHL Stormers from the Vodacom Bulls and will add valuable backline depth for Head Coach Robbie Fleck.

Basson has amassed 95 Vodacom Super Rugby caps and has scored an impressive 35 tries in that time, which illustrates his abilities as a finisher.

Director of Rugby Gert Smal said that Basson will be a welcome addition to the DHL Stormers squad this season.

“Bjorn is a versatile player whose record speaks for itself and we are excited to add another player with proven quality,” he said.

Smal said that Basson’s skillset and experience is a significant boost just before the season gets underway.

“In Bjorn we have a player comfortable on the wing or at fullback who is one of the best around under the high ball.

“The influence he will have on our young outside backs cannot be underestimated,” he said.

Basson said that he is excited to be joining the DHL Stormers and is looking forward to making an impact at DHL Newlands.

“It is great for me to be here and I cannot wait to get onto the pitch and make a difference for the team,” he said.

Jones leaves Newlands at end of 2017

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Scotland international Huw Jones will leave DHL Newlands at the end of 2017 to join Glasgow Warriors on a two-year deal.

The athletic midfielder started his professional career in Cape Town after coming through the amateur ranks, playing Club Rugby for False Bay and University Rugby for UCT before making his mark for both DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.

Jones made his Scotland debut against Japan in 2016 and scored two tries during a Man of the Match performance against Australia at Murrayfield later that year.

The 23-year-old is committed to the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province for their respective 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup campaigns.

To date, Jones has made 24 appearances for the DHL Stormers in Vodacom Super Rugby, scoring five tries during his time in Cape Town.

He has also played 16 times for DHL Western Province and finished 2016 as the joint top try scorer in the Currie Cup with seven in six appearances.

Jones said that whilst he will always cherish his time in Cape Town, he felt the time was right to move back to the Northern Hemisphere with his Test career starting to take off.

“It felt like the time was right to join Glasgow, having enjoyed my time in Cape Town playing Vodacom Super Rugby. Obviously playing for Scotland, it makes a lot of sense to be playing in Scotland and I was ready to make the move,” he said.

Director of Rugby Gert Smal said that it has been remarkable to see how Jones has grown within the structures at Western Province Rugby.

“Huw did not come to Cape Town with a career in professional rugby in mind, but he leaves us having reached the highest level.

“Of course, we are also looking forward to seeing what he can offer both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province in his final year with us,” he said.

Western Province Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks wished Jones well and thanked him for his contributions for the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

“Huw has grown immensely as a player in his time with us and we wish him all of the best.

“This is a great opportunity for him to further his career and we were certainly not going to stand in his way,” he said.

President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Mr Thelo Wakefield, thanked Jones for his service to the Union.

“We wish Huw all the best in his future and thank him for the commitment he showed to both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province in his time with us at DHL Newlands,” he said.

Stormers outscore SWD

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The Stormers scored nine tries in their 57-14 win against SWD Eagles in George on Saturday.

The Cape franchise took some time to settle in what were wet conditions at Outeniqua Park. After 20 minutes, they scored their first try through Chad Solomon.

The Stormers were handed a further boost when Eagles scrumhalf Boela Abrahams was yellow carded in the 30th minute. The visitors scored another try during Abrahams’ absence, but also conceded one at the other end of the park.

Cobus Wiese scored right before the break. At half-time, the Stormers led 19-7 and were well in control.

Cheslin Kolbe and captain Dillyn Leyds both crossed the line in the period after half-time. The Stormers continued to pile on the pressure, and surpassed the 50-point mark five minutes before the final whistle.

SWD Eagles – Tries: Charles Radebe, Justin Bhana. Conversions: Johnny Welthagen, Leegan Moos.
Stormers – Tries: Chad Solomon, Frans van Wyk, Cobus Wiese, Cheslin Kolbe, Dillyn Leyds, Jaco Coetzee, Carlu Sadie, Justin Phillips, Daniel Maree. Conversions: Damian Willemse (3), Kurt Coleman (3).

SWD Eagles – 15 Leighton Eksteen, 14 Shadward Fillies, 13 Kirsten Heyns, 12 Wilneth Engelbrecht, 11 Charles Radebe, 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Christo du Plessis, 7 Devon Raubenheimer, 6 Janneman Stander (c), 5 Brendon Snyman, 4 Hardus Coetzee, 3 Basil Short, 2 Kelvin Fikster, 1 Juandre Digue.
Subs: 16 Teunis Niewoudt, 17 Brendan Haas, 18 Anton Smit, 19 Tiaan Weyers, 20 Devron Jansen, 21 Freginald Africa, 22 Gerswin Muller, 23 Arden Wesso, 24 Dillon Snell, 25 Lorenzo Gordan, 26 Rudi Michaels, 27 Quaide Langeveld, 28 Justin Bhana, 29 Gideon Lambrecht, 30 Leegan Moos, 31 Rupino Plaatjies

Stormers squad – Juarno Augustus, Eital Bredenkamp, David Brits, Jaco Coetzee, Kurt Coleman, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Harlon Klaasen, Cheslin Kolbe, Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds (c), Wilco Louw, Godlen Masimla, SP Marais, Daniel Maree, Dean Muir, Khanyo Ngcukana, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Justin Phillips, Carlu Sadie, Marcello Sampson, JD Schickerling, Marnus Schoeman, Chad Solomon, Reuben Terblanche, Frans van Wyk, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse, Eduard Zandberg.