Former Springbok lock Hilton Lobberts is a surprise inclusion in the Stormers squad for the Varsity Day friendlies in Ravensmead this weekend.
A 28-man Stormers squad will get a thorough workout against four different teams on Varsity Day at Florida Park on Saturday.
In the first pre-season fixture of the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign, the extended squad will face University teams UCT, Maties, CPUT and a Western Province XV in a festival of rugby.
Surprisingly Lobberts, who has returned to the Western Cape to play club rugby, is included in the squad. The 33-year-old, who is comfortable at both lock and flank, last played for the Stormers in 2012 before stints with Griquas, the Cheetahs and Pumas.
Also included in the squad for the four 20-minute periods are several players with Super Rugby experience such as Jean-Luc du Plessis, Godlen Masimla, Chad Solomon, Ernst van Rhyn, Ali Vermaak, Chris van Zyl and Leolin Zas, who has returned to the Stormers from the Sharks.
Flyhalf Du Plessis and prop Vermaak have both recovered from their respective injuries which marred their 2019 season, while Solomon is back from a short-term loan to the Kings.
Stormers coach John Dobson says Varsity Day will be a great opportunity for a number of players to make an impression.
‘We know that the varsities will all be going flat out, which is exactly what we need in our first pre-season game.
‘We have a nice blend of experienced players in need of game time and talented young players who will be keen to prove themselves, which should make for some good rugby.’
Following Varsity Day the Stormers will send a team to play the Kings at Loerie Park in Knysna on Friday, 17 January before they wrap up the pre-season against the Cell C Sharks at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on SuperHero Sunday on 19 January.
Stormers Varsity Day squad: Kwenzo Blose, Deon Carstens, Ben-Jason Dixon, Lucky Dlepu, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Schalk Erasmus, Brendon Esterhuizen, Neethling Fouche, Hannes Gous, Michal Haznar, Lyle Hendricks, Thys Kitshoff, David Kriel, Hilton Lobberts, Leon Lyons, Godlen Masimla, David Meihuizen, Matt Moore, Sihle Njezula, Sazi Sandi, Cornel Smit, Chad Solomon, Abner van Reenen, Ernst van Rhyn, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, Nama Xaba, Leolin Zas.
Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix