Stormers name side for Bulls clash
Stormers boss Allister Coetzee has named his starting XV for Saturday's pre-season friendly against the Bulls in Polokwane.
Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers will lead the side, with fellow Bok Schalk Burger starting in the number seven jersey and assuming the team vice-captaincy.
Burger will form a potent all-Bok loose trio alongside number eight Duane Vermeulen and fellow flank Siya Kolisi, with Rynhardt Elstadt and Ruan Botha packing down in a new-look second row.
De Villiers, meanwhile, will resume his all-Bok partnership alongside Juan de Jongh in the midfield, with Damian de Allende starting in the number 11 jersey. WP U21 star Kobus van Wyk will start on the right-wing and Springbok Gio Aplon will provide plenty of experience from the full-back position.
The Stormers will play two more warm-up matches after this weekend, against the Kings (Friday, February 7) and Boland (Saturday, February 15) and coach Coetzee has identified internal goals for his team ahead of the 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
"Let me say from the outset that the results of these warm-up matches are not of primary importance, but that does not mean we won't - or don't - care about winning (these matches)," he told the Stormers' official website.
"The focus is internal... it's on the Stormers… on what we've been doing over the last couple of weeks, and to see how that pans out under pressure.
"We have a few objectives in terms of the breakdown, our kicking game... the set-phase (etc, etc) and we want to make sure we achieve those little goals.
"This will be the Bulls' only pre-season friendly, so the two teams' focus will be entirely different.
"Last year we made a slow start to our season and as a result we opted for three warm-up matches this time. Part of the planning is playing away from home, which was done to take the players out of their comfort zone. We also want to use these games to see what the youngsters can do and whether our depth is sufficient.
"We also want to use these games to see what the youngsters can do and whether our depth is sufficient. I've never been shy to give young players an opportunity and there's no better opportunity than to play the Bulls away from home."
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Alistair Vermaak/Justin Ackerman, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Nizaam Carr, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Gary van Aswegen, 24 Scott van Breda, 25 Ryno Eksteen, 26 Deon Fourie.
Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT, 17:00 local
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe