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    De Jongh to lead Stormers

    2015-03-18 09:48
    Juan de Jongh tackled by Aaron Cruden (Getty Images)

    Herman Gibbs - SAPA

    Cape Town - The Stormers will be captained by Juan de Jongh when they open their Australasian tour against the Highlanders at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand at the end of March.

    Regular captain Duane Vermeulen is a Springbok contracted player and may not play more than five consecutive games as a result of conditions laid down by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). The restriction is a measure designed to look after the physical well-being of the Springboks who will be campaigning in the World Cup later this year.

    Vermeulen has started in all the Stormers' five matches in this season, with De Jongh his understudy.

    "He's (Vermeulen) an A (category contract) guy and he's played five games on the trot, so Juan will lead the team (in the first tour match)," said coach Allister Coetzee at Tuesday's press conference in Bellville. "It was the plan from the beginning to rest him for this match (against the Highlanders). We have a bye this week, so Duane will rest for a fortnight."

    Coetzee said that De Jongh had captained the Western Province Currie Cup-winning team with distinction.

    "Juan proved he was a good captain in the Currie Cup and we have lots of faith in him," said Coetzee. "In Duane's absence we also have a chance to have a hard look at the depth of leadership in the group. We have people like Schalk Burger, Michael Rhodes and even Damian de Allende who have stepped up as leaders."

    The Stormers named a 27-man group for the tour and the selections were based on providing adequate cover for all positions.

    "We're really well covered (in positions) and we've included five props in the group," said Coetzee. "We have two scrumhalves and two hookers and we'll have players on standby if injuries occur. There may be times when we have to find a player on tour to fill a position when the need arises.

    "In the back division, we need flexibility in the outside backs and we have players that can provide that capability."

    The media raised the question of only two scrumhalves and Coetzee became perturbed when it was suggested that the tour would have offered Godlin Masimla a chance to fast track a promising career.

    "If we suffer scrumhalf injuries there are players who we can draft in. It's been said in the media that Cheslin (Kolbe) could be a good scrumhalf so that might be the answer. I'm not saying that we're looking at Cheslin as a scrumhalf. But I would think that Godlin could be next in the pecking order of scrumhalves."

    Louis Schreuder took a knock to the head in last weekend's match against the Chiefs but has recovered sufficiently to go in tour.

    “Louis has passed a concussion test, although he was very close to the baseline requirements," Coetzee.

    After the Highlanders' clash, the Stormers play the Hurricanes, the defending champions Waratahs and the Force.

    After their defeat at the hands of Chiefs at Newlands last weekend, Coetzee said the team had to regroup and return to winning ways.

    "We have to bounce back so that we can win the first match tour. If you don't do that it can become very testing over the rest of the tour," said Coetzee. "We know that the Highlanders and the Hurricanes can play similar to the Chiefs so we know what we're up against.

    "The loss against Chiefs will be a failure if we didn’t learn from it."

    Stormers touring squad (27):

    Ruan Botha - Lock

    Schalk Burger - Loose forward

    Manuel Carizza - Lock

    Nizaam Carr - Loose forward

    Demetri Catrakilis - Flyhalf

    Kurt Coleman - Flyhalf

    Damian de Allende - Centre

    Juan de Jongh - Centre (vice-captain)

    Eben Etzebeth - Lock

    Nic Groom - Scrumhalf

    Huw Jones - Centre/wing

    Oli Kebble - Loosehead prop

    Steven Kitshoff - Loosehead prop

    Jean Kleyn - Lock

    Vincent Koch - Tighthead prop

    Cheslin Kolbe - Fullback/wing

    Siya Kolisi - Loose forward

    Johnny Kotze - Wing/centre

    Dillyn Leyds - Wing/fullback/flyhalf

    Frans Malherbe - Tighthead prop

    Bongi Mbonambi - Hooker

    Scarra Ntubeni - Hooker

    Michael Rhodes - Flank/lock

    Louis Schreuder - Scrumhalf

    Kobus van Wyk - Wing/centre

    Alistair Vermaak - Loosehead prop

    Duane Vermeulen - No 8 (captain)

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