On Saturday, the veteran Clayton Blommetjies and the youthful center Suleiman Hartzenberg will make their Stormers debuts against Connacht in Stellenbosch in the opening match of the United Rugby Championship.
The contest against Irosh will begin at 2.30 p.m. at the Danie Craven Stadium.
Blommetjies will start at fullback alongside Seabelo Senatla and Angelo Davids on the wings to form a back three with a strong Sevens flavor. In the middle, Hartzenberg will team up with Dan du Plessis.
The 32-year-old former Cheetahs back replaces Warrick Gelant, who joined Racing 92 following the Stormers’ URC title-winning campaign.
Manie Libbok will aim to start up precisely where he left off at flyhalf and will form the halfback combination with Paul de Wet, with Godlen Masimla and Sacha Mngomezulu as replacements.
Captain Ernst van Rhyn and Marvin Orie will form the second row, while the hugely experienced Ali Vermaak and Brok Harris will flank Andre-Hugo Venter on the front row.
With six forwards on the bench, Evan Roos, Junior Pokomela, and Hacjivah Dayimani form a formidable loose trio, with Roos at the back of the scrum and Pokomela and Dayimani on the flanks. Kwenzo Blose, Chad Solomon, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Marcel Theunissen, and Willie Engelbrecht will all give bench support.
John Dobson, head coach of the Stormers, is eager to see how some of his players take their strong preseason form into the regular season, and the club is looking forward to kicking off their season in a lively Stellenbosch.
“It will be interesting to see how players like as Clayton, Suleiman, and others react on Saturday after showing great potential during preseason.
“We have an interesting blend of youth and experience, as well as some players who constantly stood up for us last season.
“The players can’t wait to get going again, and we know how crucial it will be to get off to a solid start this week, especially since we’ll be playing in a rugby-crazed town like Stellenbosch on what should be a terrific day for it,” he said.
Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Brok Harris, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Adré Smith, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Willie Engelbrecht, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu.