Newlands Rugby Stadium – Thursday afternoon was balmy and filled with anticipation for the announcement of the DHL Stormers squad, pegged to go head to head with the Bulls this Saturday.
DHL Stormers head coach, Robbie Fleck, announced the appointments of captain Siya Kolisi and vice-captain Eben Etzebeth, who will make their debut in their respective positions, this Saturday against the Vodacom Blue Bulls, at Newlands Rugby Stadium.
Fleck expressed his delight in the selection and described it as a ‘good combo’. Speaking at the official pre-match press conference, Fleckie emphasized that the pair are a strong combination and that the squad is the same strength as they were at Curry Cup level. ‘Whoever worked hard last season was rewarded, we look forward to following through what was started and although there are tough obstacles we are going into the season confidently. The wait is over, it’s time to get stuck in.’
He went on to describe Eben Etzebeth as a ‘quality rugby player who has finally found his feet within the squad’, he also applauded the 22-year-old’s understanding of how to play the Bulls.
When asked about his excitement about being selected as captain of the 2017 Stormers squad, 25-year-old captain Siya Kolisi said that while he is obviously excited (‘The Bulls is the team you want to start the season with!’), his main focus is to have a great game on Saturday. His coach pinned him as a natural choice for the squad captaincy. ‘He is a great kid and a humble man. The team really enjoy his leadership qualities.’ Said Robbie Fleck about Kolisi.
Captain Siya Kolisi told Treble Group yesterday that he is appreciative of the fans’ support and enjoyed reading the tirade of best wishes posted on his social media platform by adoring supporters. His special message to Club Newlands members is that he is committed to giving his best out on the pitch this season and is excited to see them out in full force at the stadium showing their love.
About the Bulls he said that they’re facing a good squad who have made great purchases and that the boys look forward to playing them this weekend.
Fleckie also touched on the bench, adding that in modern day rugby, the bench selection is completely tactical. ‘A strong bench is key.’ With Robbie Fleck’s commitment to honing young talent within the squad and the leadership comprising of two world class players, we look forward to what the DHL Stormers will serve up this Super Rugby this season.
Kick-off is this Saturday 25th February at 19:30pm sharp, on the sacred grounds of Newlands Rugby Stadium, home to the DHL Stormers.
The squad is as follows:
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 (captain)
6 Rynhardt Elstadt
5 Pieter-Steph du Toit
4 Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain)
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