Stormers coach Allistair Coetzee has announced a 27-man touring squad for their upcoming trip to Australasia, which will see them take on the Highlanders, the Hurricanes, the Waratahs and the Force.
Captain Duane Vermeulen will lead a squad with no selection surprises and a playing group which includes hooker Bongi Mbonambi, prop Oli Kebble, lock Eben Etzebeth, flank Mike Rhodes and wing Johnny Kotze – all of whom did not play against the Chiefs at the weekend.
The only player unavailable because of injury is hard-working flanker Rynhardt Elstadt (broken leg – suffered against the Blues in Round Two), with Coetzee rewarding those players who have served the team so well thus far in 2015.
The Stormers currently head up the SA Conference with 16 points from five matches, whilst they are in third position on the overall log – having lost just once in five fixtures (two at home, three away).
“Our loss to the Chiefs was obviously a disappointing one for us, but it’s up to us to bounce back on tour," Coetzee told the Stormers' official website.
“I always say it, but there is not an easy match in Vodacom Super Rugby and it certainly doesn’t get any easier away from home against quality outfits like the Highlanders, Hurricanes, the defending champion Waratahs and the Force.
“That said, we’re a team that enjoys touring. We’re a close squad and even though we have a lot of first-time (Super Rugby) tourists in the group, our strong leadership team will give those new players the necessary guidance and support throughout.”
The Stormers will depart for New Zealand – from Cape Town and via Johannesburg and Sydney – on Saturday afternoon. They will arrive in Queenstown on the morning of March 23 (NZ time).
Stormers squad: Ruan Botha, Schalk Burger, Manuel Carizza, Nizaam Carr, Demetri Catrakilis, Kurt Coleman, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Eben Etzebeth, Nic Groom, Huw Jones, Oli Kebble, Steven Kitshoff, Jean Kleyn, Vincent Koch, Cheslin Kolbe, Siya Kolisi, Johnny Kotze, Dillyn Leyds, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Michael Rhodes, Louis Schreuder, Kobus van Wyk, Alistair Vermaak, Duane Vermeulen (captain).