Cape Town - Young players in the Stormers setup can stake their claim for a place in the Super Rugby squad if they perform well in this month's warm-up matches, according to lock De Kock Steenkamp.
Steenkamp, who led the Stormers to a 45-14 win over the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on Saturday, said selectors were keeping a keen eye on their practice matches.
"It's a time of the season when players can alert the selectors who are on the lookout for new faces," Steenkamp said.
"Boland provides the sort of opposition that's really testing on the character and it's a great chance for new faces to show they're ready to make the step up."
The Stormers square up against the Lions in the opening match of a pre-season series in Cape Town on Friday - the second of their four scheduled warm-up games.
"It was important to start off the year with a win because the idea is to build a winning culture, Steenkamp said.
"The next step would be to build on this performance when we have a hit out against the Lions.
"It's all about working harder over the next few weeks."
Veteran scrumhalf Bolla Conradie produced a stand-out performance against Boland and showed a fair amount of enterprise at the base of the scrum, setting up attacks on Boland's defence.
"I'm at a stage where I play for fun but I'm working hard by training twice a day," said Conradie, who captained the Cavaliers to the Currie Cup First Division title last season.
"I am prepared for a good pre-season and nobody knows what will happen, as long as I keep working hard."