The Stormers boast an exciting squad for the Vodacom Super Rugby season. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at three youngsters in their squad to keep an eye on.
It looks like Pretorius could be John Dobson’s preferred pick at inside centre heading into the opening weekend, with Daniel du Plessis recovering from injury and new arrival Jamie Roberts still settling at his new team in Cape Town. The 21-year-old made the move from Bloemfontein after he matriculated at Grey College and have all the trademarks of a quality and versatile backline player. After playing for the SA Schools team he soon became a star player in the WP youth teams, earning selection in the 2018 and 2019 Junior Springboks squads for the respective Junior World Championships in France and Argentina. He also served as vice-captain of last year’s team that finished third. Dobson also appears to have fully rallied behind his potential, giving him a deserved Western Province debut last year in their final-round match against the Free State Cheetahs.
Another young and up-and-coming loose forward in the Stormers arsenal. With guys like Juarno Augustus and Jaco Coetzee already in the frame, the competition is as strong as ever. But Sunday’s SuperHero outing in Soweto suggested that Dobson might see him as another option at openside flank, depending on the availability of the other loose forwards. The 22-year-old made his Currie Cup debut for Western Province last year in their round-five clash with the Pumas when he replaced Siya Kolisi. Xaba represented the UCT Tigers in the Varsity Cup in the past and also ran out for Western Province at U19 and U21 levels.
Edwill van der Merwe
Despite already having a few Super Rugby caps to his name, 2020 could be a breakthrough year for the flying wing from Maties, who looks set to be a key part of Dobson’s ambitions for his backline. Also another former Junior Springbok player, Van der Merwe was an integral part of the Maties’ success in 2018 and 2019. Van der Merwe made his debut for the Stormers in their clash with the Sunwolves at Newlands in June last year and also got his first taste of Currie Cup rugby a month later in a 20-5 victory over the Vodacom Bulls. Depending on how fit Seabelo Senatla is during the competition, Van der Merwe could be a regular starter at left wing.
Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images