Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

History-making Brok leads crocked Stormers against Cardiff

Along with his 400th senior appearance, Harris will also be going level on 136 caps with Stormers legend Steven Kitshoff.

Veteran Stormers prop Brok Harris will make a little bit of history for himself on Friday night when he leads out the Stormers in his 400th senior professional match against Cardiff in their United Rugby Championship (URC) encounter at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales (kick-off 9:35pm).

In a career that has now spanned 17 years since he made his senior debut for Western Province back in 2006, the 38-year-old Harris has featured 135 times for the Stormers, 143 times for Welsh club Dragons and 121 times for Western Province.

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Along with his 400th senior appearance, Harris will also be going level on 136 caps with Stormers legend Steven Kitshoff, who could be in line to make his debut for new club Ulster on Saturday.

Widest dreams

“I am very privileged. I obviously moved back (to Cape Town in 2021) and I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d reach the hundred (cap mark) for the Stormers and I did that and now it’s 400 (senior caps overall),” said Harris ahead of the match.

“Coming back (to the Stormers) re-emphasised how special it is to put a Stormers jersey on, and that’s what I’ve been saying all this time.

“It’s a privilege and with that comes responsibility, a massive work rate, attitude, physicality, playing Stormers rugby, and that’s what we want to try and achieve when that whistle goes.

“So I am very blessed and can’t wait for the opportunity to captain the side which makes (the moment) even more special. But it’s not about me, it’s about (the team) performing. We’ve got a job to do and we are looking forward to it.”

The Stormers have had a tough overseas tour so far losing all three of their games, against Glasgow Warriors in Scotland, Benetton in Italy and against Munster in Ireland over the past weekend.

So they are desperate to pick up a win against Cardiff to take back to South Africa, but their job was made harder this week when they lost five players to injury.

Some are long term, like lock Gary Porter who will be out for a number of months, while others are a week or two or due to family reasons, with Evan Roos, Ben-Jason Dixon, Angelo Davids and Joseph Dweba all ruled out, while Leolin Zas could have been picked but was given a rest.

Enough firepower

Despite the loss of these players Stormers coach John Dobson believes his side has enough firepower to pick up what would be a tour rescuing win against the hosts.

“Our goal was to win two games on tour. We clearly haven’t achieved that but against Cardiff it is about us showing that we’ve got enough depth to compete in this competition,” said Dobson.

“Were you to jot that team (against Cardiff) down, there’s maybe three or four guys who would start normally if we were supercharged and everyone is fit and available.

“It’s an opportunity for us to see exactly how good this next generation is, how much depth we’ve got. I’m talking about guys like Sacha (Feinberg-Mngomezulu), Andre-Hugo (Venter), Nama (Xaba), Marcel (theunissen) and Keke (Morabe). This is their opportunity.

“What I want us to do is to go and get the win obviously, and see guys like that play really well and see that the cupboard is well stocked and we’ve got a lekker future. I think this team is good enough to get the win, and for our morale and the table we need to get those five points.”

Stormers: Clayton Blommetjies, Courtnall Skosan, Ruhan Nel, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Ben Loader, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Stefan Ungerer, Marcel Theunissen, Willie Engelbrecht, Nama Xaba, Ruben van Heerden, Adre Smith, Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, Andre-Hugo Venter, Brok Harris (capt). Bench: Scarra Ntubeni, Sti Sithole, Neethling Fouche, Connor Evans, Hendre Stassen, Keke Morabe, Herschel Jantjies, Warrick Gelant