Stormers name six debutants to face Bulls

The Stormers have named their Super Rugby season opening team to play the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday which includes six new debutants.

Springbok inside centre Damian de Allende will line up in the No.12 jersey for the Stormers and is one of three Springboks in the Stormers’ starting XV/

Fit-again loose forward Nizaam Carr has been named on the bench to take the squad tally of Boks to four.

In all, there are six Stormers debutants in the matchday squad, three in the starting XV and three on the bench, with wings Johnny Kotze and Dillyn Leyds and tighthead prop Vincent Koch the new faces in the run-on side.

The new faces on the bench are hooker Bongi Mbonambi – who, of course, has Super Rugby experience with the Bulls – tighthead prop Wilco Louw and outside back Huw Jones.

Both Kotze and Leyds are graduates of the WP Rugby Institute and cup-winning WP Under-21 set-ups, with Leyds having had a brief taste of Super Rugby in the colours of the Western Force in 2014.

Skipper Duane Vermeulen will lead the team from the No.8 position in a match which Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has described as a “tough assignment” and a “great challenge”.

“It is (a tough assignment),” Coetzee said on the Stormers site, “but it’s been done before.”

The Stormers will start their season on the Highveld for the third year in a row – having played away to the Bulls in 2013 and the Lions in 2014 – and Coetzee added,”This is a great Bulls team – jam-packed with Springboks.

“It’s a great challenge for us, but we have prepared well and, most importantly, the players are comfortable in their roles and with their responsibilities in the team and, of course, the expectations placed on them.

“We’re looking forward to getting our campaign underway after a good pre-season and, as everyone knows, there’s no greater challenge than facing the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – be it your first game or your last game of the season.”


15. Cheslin Kolbe , 14. Johnny Kotze * , 13. Juan de Jongh (vice-captain) , 12. Damian de Allende , 11. Dillyn Leyds * , 10. Demetri Catrakilis , 9. Nic Groom , 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain) , 7. Michael Rhodes , 6. Rynhardt Elstadt , 5. Ruan Botha , 4. Jean Kleyn , 3. Vincent Koch * , 2. Scarra Ntubeni , 1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: 16. Bongi Mbonambi ** , 17. Oli Kebble , 18. Wilco Louw ** , 19. Jurie van Vuuren , 20. Nizaam Carr , 21. Louis Schreuder , 22. Kurt Coleman , 23. Huw Jones **

(*Super Rugby starting debut for the Stormers)
(**On Super Rugby debut for the Stormers)

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