Steenkamp to lead Stormers

2012-01-18 15:29
De Kock Steenkamp (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bustling Stormers lock De Kock Steenkamp has been handed the captain's armband for the pre-season friendly against neighbours Boland in Wellington on Saturday.

The match will be the first of four pre-season outings for the Newlands-based side before the 2012 Super Rugby season kicks off next month.

Several key performers, including flank Schalk Burger, centre Jean de Villiers and prop Deon Carstens, were not considered for the match, with Stormers coach Allister Coetzee looking to test his younger players.

Locks Andries Bekker and Rynhardt Elstadt, as well as eighthman Duane Vermeulen, are on long injury layoffs.

"Elstadt could start training in the next few days but Bekker and Vermeulen will need more time," Coetzee said on Wednesday after naming a 28-man squad.

"These players are all doing well [in terms of their rehab process] and they won't be allowed to play if they are not medically fit.

"We have a very conservative plan to bring them back into action and the same applies to another lock, Hilton Lobberts.

"He'll probably be out for another three weeks before he starts training."

Former Blue Bulls wing Gerhard van den Heever is likely to start in the run-on XV, which Coetzee will name on match day, possibly at fullback.

"We want to use the outing to see new players in action," Coetzee said.

"Boland offer a great test in physicality, and if youngsters can cope with the match contact at this level, they will be showing that they are ready for inclusion in the Super Rugby squad for the new season.

"We have a fair idea of what our Super Rugby squad will look like but we want to give as many youngsters a chance to show how they will fit into our playing systems."

Joe Pietersen, having returned from French club Bayonne, has also been omitted from the squad.

"Pietersen's play has really matured and he's much stronger after playing in Europe," Coetzee said.

"He's always had raw pace but now he's much stronger as well."

Former Springbok scrumhalf Bolla Conradie, who had a sterling season at Boland last season, has been named vice-captain as he makes a strong bid to return to Super Rugby.

The Stormers will play the Cheetahs and the Lions in the annual pre-season tri-series tournament at Newlands, starting later this month.

Stormers squad: Adrian Kritzinger, Allistair Vermaak, Berton Klaasen, Bolla Conradie (vice-captain), Brok Harris, Burton Francis, Clement Lewis, Danie Poolman, De Kock Steenkamp (captain), Don Armandt, Eben Etzebeth, Ederies Arendse, Frans Malherbe, Gerbrandt Grobler, Gerhard van den Heever, Gio Aplon, JP du Plessis, Juan de Jongh, Kurt Coleman, Marcel Brache, Michael van der Spuy, Nic Groom, Nick Koster, Nizaam Carr, Reuben Johannes, Rohan Kitshoff, Tiaan Liebenberg, Yaya Hartzenberg.


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