The DHL Stormers will head to Hermanus on Monday, January 13 for the fourth year in a row as they prepare for the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season which gets underway in just over a month.
Springboks Tiaan Liebenberg, Frans Malherbe, Pat Cilliers, Siya Kolisi, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jaco Taute, Juan de Jongh and Gio Aplon are all part of the 38-man group, which also includes new signing Manuel Carizza (lock) and utility back Scott van Breda, who is on loan from the Kings.
Youngsters like Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward), Jean Kleyn (lock) and Ryno Eksteen (flyhalf) – all of whom are still Under-21 – have also been included in the squad, along with members of last year’s U21 group who have moved into the senior ranks in 2014; those being Oli Kebble, Godlen Masimla, Pat Howard and Kobus van Wyk.
Coach Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “Scott (van Breda) is on loan with us for the trip to Hermanus and if he continues to impress at training there could be an opportunity for him come the start of the Vodacom Super Rugby season – the same goes for players like Oli, Godlen, Pat and Kobus.
“In terms of Notshe, Jean and Ryno, we always take promising young players with us on camp – it’s great for us, as coaches, to work with them and, at the same time, gives them exposure to the DHL Stormers culture and what it takes to one day become a core member of our group.”
Coetzee and his management staff returned to work on Monday of this week, with the players returning on Tuesday.
“We tested all the players on Tuesday and I was very happy with the condition of the players during their ‘maintenance phase of conditioning’ (holiday),” explained Coetzee. “All the players put in a good effort over December and it was pleasing to see them get stuck in during our three sessions this past week.
“The emphasis this week has been 50-50 in terms of conditioning and technical work, but next week in camp our focus will change in favour of 70% technical/rugby work and 30% conditioning.
“We have about 14 sessions from now until our first pre-season match against the Bulls (on February 1). We know where we want to be come February 1 and our process is already beginning to take shape.”
* The DHL Stormers will play their first pre-season match – against the Bulls in Polokwane – on Saturday, February 1, followed by clashes against the Kings (February 7) and Boland (February 15) on successive weekends thereafter. Their 2014 Super Rugby season kicks-off against the Lions – in Johannesburg – on Saturday, February 22.
THE 2014 DHL STORMERS PRE-SEASON SQUAD FOR HERMANUS (38):
Damian de Allende
Jean de Villiers
Juan de Jongh
De Kock Steenkamp
Gary van Aswegen
Scott van Breda
Michael van der Spuy
Kobus van Wyk