CAPE TOWN – While Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi says his team are well aware of how Lions pivot Elton Jantjies “can run circles around you”, they themselves have a few evasive men the Lions need to look out for.
John Dobson named an exciting team for their Super Fan Saturday fixture against the Lions tomorrow (kick-off 7pm).
His group includes eight Springboks in the match-day squad for their return to rugby, while there is also some young new blood, with the likes of wing Angelo Davids, fullback Tristan Leyds and utility forward Hannes Gouws all up for their first Stormers caps from the extended bench.
Warrick Gelant will also make his Stormers debut when he starts at No 15. Gelant is joined by fellow Springboks Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff in the starting line-up, while Bongi Mbonambi is among the replacements – an appetising line-up.
The Lions have also gone with a mix of stalwarts and new faces for their Pretoria encounter.
In a major boost, loose forward Jaco Kriel, who will no doubt add even more potency to an exciting loose trio, has recovered fully from the injury that kept him sidelined earlier in the year, while prop Ruan Dreyer is back from his stint with Gloucester.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) September 24, 2020
Then there’s Jantjies, who will continue as captain of a side that features a number of new faces, including Jaco Visagie, Burger Odendaal, Sibahle Maxwane, Divan Russouw and EW Viljoen
“It’s going to be good,” Kolisi said.
“We’ve got a game plan that we’re all enjoying, so it’s going to be good,” Kolisi said.
“The Lions are going to run a lot of balls so our loosies are going to have to work hard and keeping up the intensity is going to be important.
“We know we’re going to have to dominate the gain line because we know if the Lions keep getting in behind you, Elton is going to be running circles around you.”
While the Lions loose forwards will certainly have to be contained, there’s no shortage of threats in the backline either with the likes of Viljoen, Wandisile Simelane and Courtnall Skosan.
Here is your DHL Stormers team to take on the Emirates Lions in their long-awaited return to rugby at Loftus Versfeld on Vodacom SuperFan Saturday. Kick-off at 19h00, live on @SuperSportTV. #iamastormer #dhldelivers 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/ujC3cX9S54
— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) September 24, 2020
But the Stormers can say exactly the same, with Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, Dan du Plessis and, of course, Herschel Jantjies never too far behind where excitement is concerned.
And that’s not even all of them.
Dobson has also said that their skills and execution have been a big focus during the break.
Add in there all the thrill-a-minute players both teams boast, and there can be no better way to reintroduce the game to rugby-hungry South African fans.
Lions team: 15 Divan Russouw, 14 Sibahle Maxwane, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (capt), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoenmaker, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Gerrit Visagie, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Sti Sithole, 17 Jan-Henning Campher, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Reinhard Nothnagel, 21 MJ Pelser, 22 Franke Horn, 23 Len Massyn, 24 Dillon Smit, 25 Gianni Lombard, 26 Stean Pienaar, 27 Daniel Kriel, 28 Manuel Rass, 29 Jamba Ulengo, 30 EW Viljoen
Stormers team: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Leolin Zas, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (capt), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Hannes Gouws, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Michal Hazner, 25 Angelo Davids, 26 Tristan Leyds.