Newcomers fit in as Stormers start with 10 tries
DHL Stormers coach Dawie Snyman pronounced himself happy with the way several newcomers fitted in as the Cape side started their buildup to the new competitive season with a rollicking 64-26 win over the South Western Districts Eagles in George on Friday night.
With just a couple of weeks to go until the 2022/23 runners up begin their quest to reclaim the Vodacom United Rugby Championship crown they won in the inaugural season of the competition, the game at Outeniqua Park was the Stormers’ first match of three that will be played during their training camp in the Wilderness.
They conclude with two games next weekend, one against the same Eagles team and the other against the HollywoodBets Sharks, with the Sharks game being the proper dress-rehearsal for the new URC season. Snyman says that game will be much needed as it will bring the type of intensity required to prepared for competition rugby, but he was satisfied with the 10 try romp on Friday.
“It was a nice hit out for us. You can train as much as you like in the pre-season but once you get to the games it is always different so it was nice to get a proper hit out to get everything rolling,” said Snyman.
“I thought the newcomers who played all did well. I thought Ben Loader and Courtnall Skosan (both wings) did very well and so did Sti Stithole (former Lions prop) when he came on. Lizo Gcqoboko was also impressive when he came on and I thought Hendre Stassen (lock/flank) made a difference when he came onto the field too.”
The veteran Stormers front row of Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni and Ali Vermaak helped lay the groundwork for the big Stormers victory and the Stormers backline coach was pleased to see the old guys get some game time behind them.
“Those are the players who need game time the most at the start of a season so it was good that they played,” said Snyman.
The Stormers led 38-14 at halftime, with the Eagles reportedly showing a lot of spirit in keeping things manageable when the Stormers emptied their big bench in the second half.
“We played the Eagles this time last year and their improvement since then has been a big one,” said Snyman.
“You can see they have something nice going here and they are building a nice brand for the union. If they continue with what they are doing they will become a force. It was great for us as the Stormers to be in George as the crowd always enjoys having us here.
“Next week we will have our depth tested as we will be involved in two games, but the one against the Sharks will provide a step up in intensity and a proper and necessary test for us ahead of the start of the new season.”
DHL Stormers 64 - Tries: Mnombo Zwelendaba, Jurie Mathee, Stefan Ungerer, Clayton Blommetjies, Gary Porter, Scarra Ntubeni, Juan de Jongh, Courtnall Skosan, JJ Kotze and Lizo Gqoboko; Conversions: Jurie Mathee. SWD Eagles 26 - Tries: Steph Leonard, Josh Vermeulen, Lukman Yaya and Burton Booysen; Conversions: Josh Vermeulen.