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    Coetzee: Kotze has the skills

    2015-02-12 14:39

    Herman Gibbs

    Cape Town - Johnny Kotze, who was a stand-out player for last season’s Western Province Under-21 side, is the major surprise in the Stormers team to play the Bulls in the opening round of the 2015 Super Rugby competition at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday evening.

    The Johannesburg-born Kotze, who was schooled at Bishops in Cape Town, was given the nod after right wing Kobus van Wyk was omitted from Saturday's match-day squad. Van Wyk, who had returned from a calf injury, enjoyed very little game time in the pre-season warm-up matches and it was felt that he needed more time to reach the desired level of match readiness.

    "Kotze has all the core skills that is required of a wing," said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, at Thursday's team announcement in Bellville. "He was one of the stars in last season's (WP) Under-21 team. He's been in our system and he brings characteristics that are very pleasing.

    “He is physical and very brave. He has the ingredients a team needs against a team like the Bulls.

    "He usually plays at outside centre and I'm confident that he'll settle in well in his debut and deliver the business on the right wing. It will be a big test for him, and he’s also competes on the ground.”

    Coetzee said a number of centres in the WP systems over the last few seasons started their Stormers careers on the wing.

    Kotze will line-up alongside fullback Cheslin Kolbe and left wing debutant Dillyn Leyds in the Stormers' back-three and their collective lack of height could pose an attraction option for the Bulls if they resort to a kicking game.

    The perceived lack of height in the back three is something that the Stormers had considered but Coetzee felt the team had covered all their bases going into the Loftus encounter.

    “I am confident in the way we prepared and I do not think there is any more we can do. I am comfortable with our choices, and with the way we have trained. It has gone well in training this week," said Coetzee.

    "As coaches we'll just have to see how it goes, and Saturday will tell us whether the players can deliver what they did in practice under pressure in a big match like this."

    There is doubt about the fitness of hooker Siyabonga 'Scarra' Ntubeni, who was withdrawn from Thursday's training because of a viral infection.

    It is expected, though, that Ntubeni will recover sufficiently in time to play. In the event of him withdrawing, reserve and new recruit Bongi Mbonambi will run out against his former team-mates.

    "We'll treat Ntubeni's case with great caution bearing in mind that it is a first game and the match is at altitude. It looks like he'll recover but we have Bongi (Mbonambi) ready to take his place if necessary," said Coetzee.

    Tighthead prop Vincent Koch who was signed from the Pumas a few weeks ago, is the third debutant in the run-on XV.

    Duane Vermeulen, the new Stormers captain, said his team was going to Loftus with the intention of playing "winning" rugby.

    "I've heard all the talk about the teams planning to play expansive rugby but we want to play winning rugby, even if that means resorting to a kicking game," said Vermeulen. "We want to win to give ourselves a chance for a shot at winning the Super Rugby title."

    In the absence of injured locks Eben Etzebeth (chest injury) and Manuel Carizza (shoulder), Jean Kleyn has landed a starting XV berth.

    "Jean can do the job because he has learnt a lot," said Vermeulen. "There are also a number of players around him who can show him the way. I'm very pleased with his progress."

    Vermeulen said he was not overly concerned about the role of the referee (Jaco Peyper) on Saturday.

    "We know that SANZAR have their guidelines in place but on the day it is all about how the referee interprets the situation," said Vermeulen. "We just have to adapt to how Jaco blows the match."



    15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Jacques du Plessis, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Trevor Nyakane

    Substitutes: 16. Callie Visagie, 17. Morne Mellet, 18. Dayan vd Westhuizen/Neethling Fouche, 19. Grant Hattingh, 20. Pierre Spies, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23. Jesse Kriel


    15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13. Juan de Jongh, 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

    Substitutes: 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

    Read More On:  stormers super 15 rugby

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