The Stormers have a simple explanation for why influential Springbok star Damian Willemse is on tour for their United Rugby Championship (URC) trip while some of the national team is still in Cape Town.
While Willemse, who recently signed a contract extension with the Stormers, is not the only Springbok in the Stormers squad for their games against Zebre, Ospreys, and Cardiff, he was part of the last group to return from camp, which included the rested Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, and Deon Fourie.
They are human beings who require rest just like the rest of us. It’s also to ensure that when we return from our tour, we have the most fresh players possible. It’s also important for player safety.”
Willemse, who had recently returned from concussion, was named to the 28-man travelling team, and with the national team’s flyhalf position in disarray, it was puzzling why he was included.
“That was his decision… [he said] he wanted to play,” Laker responded.
“He requested to join the tour and would like to be a part of the squad and play some rugby.”
Laker stated that the forwards, particularly props Kitshoff and Malherbe, take on a lot during a game, including scrums, lineouts, and mauls. These factors justify their rests in the first round of the tournament.
The Stormers will announce their lineup for Saturday’s game on Friday, with kickoff set for 16:00. (SA time).