Coach Allister Coetzee yesterday recalled Springbok captain and centre Jean de Villiers after he missed the warmup clash against Boland last week, while he included all his available Boks, with others like Eben Etzebeth, Juan de Jongh and Jaco Taute still on the injured list.
“(Looking at our back three) there is Gio Aplon at fullback, who is back after getting married, (young wing) Kobus van Wyk did well in the first two warm-up games and there is, of course, Jean de Villiers who is back in the frame after taking a knock to his ear against the Bulls,” said Coetzee.
Van Wyk, centre Michael van der Spuy and Argentinian lock Manuel Carizza are the trio in the starting lineup set for their debuts, while on the bench prop Oliver Kebble and flyhalf Ryno Eksteen, who was named in the SA Under-20 training squad, could also earn their colours.
Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will also make his maiden Stormers appearance after playing for the Kings in last year’s competition.
Coetzee admitted they could be vulnerable in the back division after losing De Jongh, Taute and Cheslin Kolbe to injuries, but also expressed his faith and enthusiasm in the rise of some of the younger generation.
“Yes, we are thin, especially with Juan de Jongh out, but I think we will cope with guys like Gio, Kobus and, of course, Damian de Allende. And don’t forget Ryno Eksteen who did not play against Boland after doing well in our games against the Bulls and the Kings,” Coetzee said.
The Stormers have only the Lions clash this weekend and next weekend’s Hurricanes match at Newlands before going on tour with their first game scheduled against the Crusaders.