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Nizaam Carr

Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

The DHL Stormers are keeping their build-up to Saturday’s massive Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls under wraps, with no open training sessions or press conferences scheduled until the team announcement on Thursday, but there shouldn’t be any secret to what the biggest selection dilemma will be this week.

To put it simply, coach Allister Coetzee needs to find a way to fit 4 inform Springbok loose-forwards into a winning loose trio. Up until the match against the Western Force, not all the loose-forwards were firing, as Nizaam Carr wasn’t repeating the excellent form that earned him a national call-up last year.

However, against the Western Force the No 8 hit his straps and regained his old confidence, delivering a busy and energetic performance that should have taken him close to the man of the match award. The Stormers were unlucky not to score a try off one particularly impressive run from Carr.

The problem for Coetzee, if you could call it that, is that skipper Duane Vermeulen has now completed his rest period that started when he travelled home at the halfway point of the 4 match overseas tour, meaning that he effectively missed 3 games in all as he was also rested for the 1st. Vermeulen should return to the back of the scrum for the Newlands clash, which will mean that Carr will have to be accommodated elsewhere.

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Juan de Jongh

Juan de Jongh

Centre Juan de Jongh has recovered from an ankle injury and will lead the DHL Stormers in their 3rd Vodacom Super Rugby tour match of 2015 – against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.

De Jongh was an 11th hour withdrawal from the team last weekend, but he is fit to take his place in the No 13 shirt this week and assume the leadership responsibilities in the absence of Duane Vermeulen, who is back in South Africa as part of the rest agreement with SA Rugby.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen will assume the DHL Stormers captaincy, as well as the No 8 jersey, for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the top of the table – and unbeaten – Hurricanes team in Wellington (kick-off 08:35 SA Time).

The influential No 8 missed last week’s 21 / 39 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin as part of the SA franchises’ rest agreement with SA Rugby, but he returns this week in 1 of 2 changes to the DHL Stormers 15.

The 2nd change, also up front, sees fellow Springbok hardman Eben Etzebeth take over the No 4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, the latter dropping out of the matchday squad altogether – along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No 8 last week.

On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No 19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged replacements’ unit.

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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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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Forwards Bongi Mbonambi and Nizaam Carr have been named in the DHL Stormers starting 15 for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Lions at Emirates Airlines Park (kick-off 19:10 SA Time, 17:10 GMT).

Mbonambi will make his first start for the DHL Stormers in a rotational change at hooker, with Scarra Ntubeni reverting to the bench, whilst Springbok loose forward Carr comes in for the injured Rynhardt Elstadt in the No 6 jersey.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen was the star of the annual South African Rugby Union Player of the Year Awards when he walked off with 3 awards, including the main award of the season.

Vermeulen was named SARU Rugby Player of the Year after an extensive voting process, which included the country’s rugby media and the public through SARU’s online and social media platforms.

The 28-year-old Vermeulen, who will captain the DHL Stormers this year, also won the coveted SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year Awards for 2014.

“Duane has been outstanding in 2014 and these awards are just reward for the excellent form he showed last year, as one of the Springboks’ key performers and for the DHL Stormers,” said SARU President, Mr Oregan Hoskins.

Hot on Vermeulen’s heels, with two awards, was young Springbok flyhalf and Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard.

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Ruan Botha

Ruan Botha

Damian de Allende

Damian de Allende

Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

The DHL Stormers have been boosted by the return to fitness of Springboks Nizaam Carr and Damian de Allende as well as lock Ruan Botha ahead of their Super Rugby encounter against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Wing Kobus van Wyk is an injury doubt however, and flank Siya Kolisi will not be risked this weekend.

The Stormers will travel to Loftus Versfeld for their 2015 season-opener, before hosting New Zealand side, the Blues, at Newlands the following weekend.

The team, to face the Bulls, will be announced at lunch-time on Thursday.

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DHL StormersThe DHL Stormers are slowly working towards full muster as the Vodacom Super Rugby season approaches, with another clutch of Springboks set to return to the team for Friday night’s warm-up fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.

The Stormers dispensed with the SWD Eagles 34 / 3 in their opening game in George at the weekend, but the Cheetahs, as fellow Super Rugby participants, are considered the toughest opponent of the pre-season phase. They are thus the ones the Cape side will consider to be the dress rehearsal for the real thing, which comes in the form of the opening clash with the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on 14 February.

The Stormers will play the Boland Cavaliers in another warm-up game before the Super Rugby season starts. However, with the game taking place just one week before the trip to Loftus, the normal policy is to include fringe players for that fixture, plus maybe a top player or two who would only then be fully ready to play after coming back from injury.

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DHL StormersA 28-man DHL Stormers squad will head to George this weekend, as the Men from the Cape start their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby preparations against the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park on Saturday (Kick-Off 16:30 SA Time).

Stormers squad for George:

New captain Duane Vermeulen will lead a starting XV with four Test players – three Springboks and an Argentine international – whilst props Steven Kitshoff (back from a long-term injury) and Vincent Koch (a new signing) are the other noteworthy inclusions.

Dillyn Leyds, after making his return from Australia during last year’s Absa Currie Cup competition, will start on the left-wing – part of an exciting back three with EW Viljoen on the right-wing and speedster Cheslin Kolbe lining up at fullback.

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DHL StormersThe DHL Stormers have finished their training camp in Hermanus and have also appointed their leadership for the season.

We also bring news on Nizaam Carr, who did not take part in the training camp but in stead was hospitalised due to a viral infection.

By now, the rumours of Duane Vermeulen’s departure overseas have also been laid to rest, we discuss it below.

Seabelo Senatla, the speedster, will only join the Stormers in a couple of months due to his dual committments with the South African Sevens side, more hereunder.

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SpringboksThis year saw another pack of exciting young players force their way into the Springbok fold and into contention for a place at the World Cup.

A lengthy injury list meant that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer had to turn to inexpeienced players more often than he would have liked, but the flip side is that it gave some players the chance to prove themselves at the highest level.

Admittedly there is still a lot of rugby to be played before the World Cup, but it will probably take something exceptional for any uncapped players to force their way into Meyer’s thinking next year.

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Johan Goosen

Johan Goosen

Trevor Nyakane

Trevor Nyakane

Teboho Mahoje

Teboho Mahoje

Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie Oosthuizen

The Springbok starting team to face Italy in Padova on Saturday shows four changes from the side which beat England at Twickenham last week, with three new faces amongst the pack and one in the backline.

There are also five changes on the bench, with Nizaam Carr and Julian Redelinghuys included in a Test match-23 for the first time.

Trevor Nyakane will start his first Test for South Africa at loosehead prop, while Coenie Oosthuizen moves up from the bench to replace the injured Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje returns to the starting line-up while Johan Goosen has been selected at fullback.

Joining Carr and Redelinghuys on the bench, are Gurthrö Steenkamp, Lood de Jager and Willie le Roux. Tendai Mtawarira has been given a break after carrying a heavy workload recently.

“I’m excited to see what these guys can do on Saturday in what will be a stern Test against a fired-up Italy,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“We planned to make a few shifts for this Test as I’d like to see if these players can make the step up. The guys coming in deserve their opportunities and seeing that we won’t have our overseas-based players available next week against Wales, it made sense to bring a few of them in this week.”

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Julian Redelinghuys

Julian Redelinghuys

Robbie Coetzee

Robbie Coetzee

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

Five newcomers and two returnees have been added to the bulk of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad as the national selectors opted for continuity and rewarding form in naming a 36-man squad for next month’s tour to the Northern Hemisphere.

Twenty-nine of the 36 players named for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour were part of the Rugby Championship squad. They will be joined by the uncapped quintet of Robbie Coetzee, Julian Redelinghuys, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Kriel and Seabelo Senatla, while Coenie Oosthuizen and Johan Goosen have been recalled to the squad for the tour of four Tests.

“It’s wonderful to have this kind of continuity in selection, while the five uncapped players in the squad have all been rewarded for superb form throughout the season,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Many of the selected players were at our training camp in Stellenbosch last week where we put in a lot of very hard work. We’ll have to hit the ground running when we assemble in Johannesburg on Wednesday before we depart on what will be a challenging tour.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province’s injury concerns have improved ahead of their Currie Cup Final against the Xerox Golden Lions at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Eighthman Nizaam Carr, who cried off with a hip injury midway through the first half of the Semi-Final clash against the Vodacom Blue Bulls last Saturday was walking comfortably on Monday afternoon.

Centre / fullback Jaco Taute was running without discomfort after he was forced to miss the Semi-Final because of a rib injury and was tested in a contact session on Tuesday.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said it was pleasing to read the team’s latest medical report because the wider training squad had been given a clean bill of health.

“Nemo (Carr) is feeling much better and is walking with ease,” Coetzee said.

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Nizaam Carr

DHL Western Province and Stormers loose forward Nizaam Carr was the big winner at the 2014 WP Rugby Awards Evening at the Southern Sun Cape Sun on Tuesday night.

The 23-year-old loose forward star walked off with two big prizes – the Adidas MVP Award and the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year Award, the latter as voted for by his peers. Carr has had an outstanding season, first establishing himself as a first-choice pick for the DHL Stormers and then carrying that form across into the 2014 Absa Currie Cup competition.

Joining Carr as major winners on the night were Springboks Duane Vermeulen (Senior Forward of the Year), Damian de Allende (Senior Back of the Year), Michael Rhodes (Most Promising Senior Forward) and Cheslin Kolbe (Most Promising Senior Back).

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Lizo Gqoboka

Lizo Gqoboka is one of three young, up and coming players that have been selected to attend the Springbok Training Camp ahead of their final two matches in the Rugby Championship.

Gqoboka, along with Nizaam Carr, Seabelo Senatla, will join the camp this week.

“They are three promising young players we’ve identified and we’d like to expose them to the Springbok ethos while also having a look at what they can do in training,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

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Nizaam Carr

Nizaam Carr

He has been one of the stellar performers nationwide as the Currie Cup approaches its halfway stage in pre-knockout play this weekend.

But will Nizaam Carr, the tearaway No 8 for log-leaders Western Province, fall prey soon to that all too common shortcoming by South African coaches at either Super Rugby or provincial level: flogging players to the point of exhaustion or often not unrelated injury?

A week and a half ago, WP coach Allister Coetzee admitted to some journalists that Carr, whose game-to-game work-rate has often been little short of extraordinary, was in need of some “off” time – remember that the domestic competition has no bye-weekend luxuries.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee adopted a different approach to his former Springbok management colleague Jake White during the break from Vodacom Super Rugby for the June internationals.

While White had his Cell C Sharks players play club rugby in the last weeks of the break so they don’t hit the remaining phase of the season cold, Coetzee’s players haven’t played in any matches since the win over the Sharks in Durban on the last day of May. The only players to see action in June were the Springboks.

However, the Stormers shouldn’t expect to take any cobwebs into Saturday’s big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands as in the two weeks back in training after the taking the first two weeks off, the Stormers have been steadily upping the intensity in training.

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DHL StormersHead coach Allister Coetzee has announced a team showing seven changes for the DHL Stormers’ final Vodacom Super Rugby tour match on Saturday – against the Reds in Brisbane (kick-off 10:40 SA Time).

Springbok centre Juan de Jongh has been restored to the starting line-up, following his return from injury via the bench last weekend, whilst WP Under-21 star Jurie van Vuuren will make his first Super Rugby start after being named to partner Michael Rhodes at lock.

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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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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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From a South African perspective the rugby calendar makes little sense. The way the international fixtures are currently set out does not really allow for any competition to run its course to completion, it has therefor been proposed that there will be a break in the Super Rugby competition next year to allow the June tour window, and then the Super Rugby competition will resume. In between all this, there is a Currie Cup that will now take a further step back to accommodate the Super Rugby and International fixtures.

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