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Michael Rhodes

Schalk Burger

Schalk Burger

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has hinted that veteran Schalk Burger could be in line for a return to the openside flank role that he filled for so long for the Springboks, but it would require a big shift in emphasis for the 2004 winner of the IRB World Rugby Player of the Year Award.

Coetzee finds himself faced with a difficult balancing act as he considers his loose-forward options of Saturday’s opening Vodacom Super Rugby tour match against the Highlanders in Dunedin. Duane Vermeulen, who brings so much of the necessary drive and physicality to the back row, is being rested as per the agreement with Saru geared towards effective management of Springboks.

That means that Nizaam Carr will move from openside flank to No 8, something that Coetzee confirmed in an interview with the Cape media from the team hotel in Dunedin. Carr played for the Boks in that position last year and was 1 of the form players in the Currie Cup for the title winning Western Province team, but having him at the back of the scrum does bring a different dynamic to the back row.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Regular captain and No 8 Duane Vermeulen is the only member of the DHL Stormers touring squad that will not be available for selection for Saturday’s opening game of the 4 day trip against the Highlanders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has reported to the Cape rugby media via telephone conference hook-up that the squad has settled down well on the South Island in New Zealand – they are actually in the resort town of Queenstown currently – and that every player in the 27 man squad is fully fit and ready to play.

That means that Louis Schreuder, who was concussed against the Chiefs in the last match, has passed his cognitive tests, while big lock Eben Etzebeth and the inform blindside flank Michael Rhodes have both recovered from the injuries that have kept them out of the last few Stormers games.

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Michael Rhodes

Michael Rhodes

Saracens are delighted to announce the signing of Michael Rhodes from the Stormers.

Michael Rhodes, the Stormers and Western Province forward, will join Saracens at the start of next season, adding South African power to the wolf pack.

Mark McCall, Director of Rugby, said: “We have some time ago identified Michael as a player who could  make significant contribution to the squad, playing in the second row or the back row, carrying the ball and we are confident we can provide an environment where he will realise his full potential. We’re delighted he will be joining us next season.”

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Michael Rhodes

Michael Rhodes

The injury list for the DHL Stormers is growing following the addition of 3 more players after the hard won victory over the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Locks Jurie Van Vuuren, Ruan Botha and Flank Michael Rhodes all picked up injuries and will be assessed in the coming days.

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Barbarians RugbyJohn Kirwan will give his international recruits the opportunity to stake their claim for Test places when the Barbarians take on Australia next month.

The former World Cup winner takes charge of the famous invitation side for the Killik Cup match at Twickenham on 1 November.

Already recruited are Wallabies wing Nick Cummins, former England prop Matt Stevens and a hard-edged group of South African forwards which include CJ Van der Linde, Heinrich Brussow, Coenie Oosthuizen, Thomas du Toit, Jacques Botes and Michael Rhodes.

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DHL StormersThe DHL Stormers side has suffered some injuries whilst on tour, with Scarra Ntubeni and Patrick Cilliers sent back to South Africa.

As a result, the Stormers are looking for suitable replacements to join them on tour.

In addition they have tried to obtain the services of Griquas hooker on loan, Martin Bezuidenhot, which have apparently been unuccessful.

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StormersCoach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting line-up for the DHL Stormers’ first match of their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby tour.

The DHL Stormers will take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday (kick-off 08:35 SA Time, 19:35 NZ Time) without injured forwards, lock Rynhardt Elstadt and flanker Siya Kolisi, with the fit-again De Kock Steenkamp and Schalk Burger replacing them up front.

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Stormers

This is the forth in the series of Stormers Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the DHL Stormers 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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DHL WPDHL Western Province have probably lost Juan de Jongh for their next two matches after the centre was called up by the Springboks on Sunday, but they should be significantly boosted for Friday’s crucial Absa Currie Cup clash with the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

WP were set back before their match against the GWK Griquas at Newlands at the start of the weekend by the late withdrawal of big blindside flanker Rynhardt Elstadt.

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Stormers“This is where the debate starts to get interesting. So much conjecture around Schalk Burger, his role and where he should play. With Francois Louw gone, is the fetching role going to be an area of contention?” This was my view from the same article 12 months ago – has anything changed?

Schalk Burger still under a cloud, Nizaam Carr still hobbling, but a plethora of very good players in the squad means that if these two players do ever get into frontline rugby again, the Stormers will certainly be able to post a formidable loose trio on match days!

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In todays edition of the Lions Super Rugby contenders we look at the Rugby equivalent of the hyena and jackal, the Loose Frowards.

The men who have to get low down and dirty, and win the ball wherever it’s available, but mostly on the ground.

I’ll kick off with the stalwarts of the 2011 season.

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In this the 3rd instalment of the Lions contenders, we look at the big men who perform in the engine room of the forward pack, the lock forwards.

Providing the grunt in the heart of the scrum, as well as the means to win ball in the line-outs, this group of BIG men are responsible for ensuring a continuous supply of quality first phase ball for the team.

Let’s open with the players who did the hard yards in last years campaign.

The next instalment will look at the ever improving and exciting loose forwards.

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