The DHL Stormers could give more of their bright youngsters an opportunity to shine in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in the wake of Suleiman Hartzenberg’s two-try performance against Edinburgh. DYLAN JACK reports.
Hartzenberg scored twice in the second half to help the Stormers come from behind and claim a bonus-point victory over Edinburgh after trailing 10-0 in the first half.
“I would like to get him more ball,” said coach John Dobson on the speedster. “It wasn’t a performance for the ages in terms of him creating stuff, but that was because he just didn’t see enough ball. He is going to be top.”
The 19-year-old, who made his debut at outside centre against Connacht in Stellenbosch, has made an assured start to his Stormers career.
He is among a bright group of Junior Springboks, including hooker Andre-Hugo Venter and Sacha Mngomezulu, who are starting to come through and bolster the Stormers’ depth.
“I think we are on the verge of a very special generation and I can list quite a few players,” said Dobson. “You just look at who could be playing for the U21s: Andre-Hugo Venter, Suleiman, Conor Evans, Imad Khan, Sacha, Kade Wolhuter.
“If we can keep this group together, we can be in a very good place for a while.”
Dobson said that while it’s unlikely that too many of these youngsters will be taken on the upcoming three-game tour, they could get their opportunity when the Stormers return to South Africa at the end of October.
“The tour is probably a bit tougher because we are limited to the numbers that we can take. But then we go on a phase where we play Lions, Scarlets and Dragons,” said Dobson.
“The thing with these youngsters, we want to do as well as we can, but this is also an investment season. They have to play, it’s the only way they get better. The Currie Cup will give them an opportunity, but we have to give them URC caps.”
Hartzenberg’s performance also had captain Marvin Orie beaming as the youngster is the latest local player to come through the ranks and shine in the blue-and-white.
“It’s exceptional,” said the Stormers lock. “It will take me a while to mention all the names, but you look at Herschel [Jantjies] from Kylemore, Damian [Willemse] from Strand, Suleiman. It’s really a lot of credit to everyone involved to get players from all these communities
“Cape Town is producing really good rugby players, like Suleiman, so it’s exciting for rugby in this region.”
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