Stormers coach John Dobson has named his team for Saturday’s URC opener against Connacht in Stellenbosch.

At the Danie Craven Stadium, experienced fullback Clayton Blommetjies and young centre Suleiman Hartzenberg will make their URC debuts for the Stormers.

Clayton, Suleiman, and others have shown real promise in our preseason, and it will be interesting to see how they react on Saturday “Dobson stated.

In the absence of Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff, lock Ernst van Rhyn captains the Stormers up front. Van Rhyn teams up with Marvin Orie in the second row, while Ali Vermaak and Brok Harris form the front row alongside hooker Andre-Hugo Venter. Andre Venter, a former Springbok flanker, is Venter’s father.

Springbok Evan Roos starts at No. 8, flanked by Junior Pokomela and Hacjivah Dayimani.

Dobson, like the Springboks, went with a six-two forward-back split on the bench. Kwenzo Blose, Chad Solomon, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Marcel Theunissen, and Willie Engelbrecht are the forward reserves.

Dobson stated that they were eager to begin their title defence.

“We have an exciting mix of youth and experience, as well as several players who really stepped up for us last season.

“The players can’t wait to get back to work, and we know how important it will be to get off to a good start this week, especially since we’re playing in a rugby-mad town like Stellenbosch on what should be a beautiful day,” Dobson said.

The game begins at 14:30 on Saturday.

Stormers squad:

Clayton Blommetjies, 15 Angelo Davids, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg (13), Dan du Plessis (12), Seabelo Senatla 11, Manie Libbok, 10 Paul de Wet, 9 Evan Roos, 8 Dayimani, 7 Hacjivah Junior Pokomela, 6 Marvin Orie, No. 5 Ernst van Rhyn 4 (captain), Brok Harris, No. 3 1 Ali Vermaak, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter

Substitutes: Chad Solomon (16), Kwenzo Blose (17), Neethling Fouche (18), Adre Smith (19), Marcel Theunissen (20). Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22; Sacha Mngomezulu, 23.

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