Stormers to test Hacjivah Dayimani at wing as Wandisile Simelane starts in Northampton

Former Lions star Wandisile Simelane, left, will start alongside Dan du Plessis in midfield for the Stormers tomorrow. Photo: PHANDO JIKELO Independent Newspapers

Former Lions star Wandisile Simelane, left, will start alongside Dan du Plessis in midfield for the Stormers tomorrow. Photo: PHANDO JIKELO Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 8, 2024

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Hacjivah Dayimani was notable for his absence from this week’s Springbok alignment camp, but he will get an opportunity to state his case in more than one position during the Stormers’ friendly match against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens tomorrow (4.30pm kick-off, SA time).

Assistant coach Dawie Snyman said the idea is to give the versatile Dayimani some time on the wing, so that the loose forward gets a better understanding of how to combine with the backs.

Snyman said that Dayimani is so talented that he could be used in the backline in an emergency in league games.

“An interesting one is that we are going to have Hacjivah getting a crack on the wing,” Snyman said. “He will play there in the second half.

“It’s about giving him that opportunity because we tend to go with a six-two split (between forwards and backs) on the bench, so if there’s a crisis, we know he can cover that position.

“We have enough quality players in that position, but it can happen that you will need it in a match.

“If you look at where Hacjivah gets most of his opportunities to carry, it’s in those channels.

“We want our loose forwards to be able to combine with our backline players because we have so much speed in our back row.

“It’s a bit of a combination thing, but it’s also about knowing that if we need a forward to cover in the backline, he can do that job for us.”

Veteran prop Brok Harris will captain the side against the England Premiership log leaders.

Coach John Dobson is looking to give his greater depth a solid airing during this pause in the United Rugby Championship, and the squad he has picked for the trip is bristling with enterprise.

It wasn’t that long ago that Dobson took a similar type of team to play the Leicester Tigers in a Champions Cup match, and instead of getting the expected hiding, the Stormers’ dirt-trackers almost won.

Jurie Matthee was at No 10 in that game, and he will be the flyhalf once more for this match in the English Midlands.

Dobson will be keen to see how Wandisile Simelane goes in an exciting midfield partnership with Dan du Plessis.

Du Plessis is joined by fullback Warrick Gelant in providing the experience in a backline that also boasts wings Ben Loader and Chris Hollis, and the well-travelled Stefan Ungerer is at scrumhalf.

The lock pairing of Connor Evans and Gary Porter has plenty of promise, while Harris is joined in the front row by hooker JJ Kotze and Sazi Sandi.

There is plenty of energy in the loose trio of Keke Morabe, Willie Engelbrecht and Junior Pokomela.

It is the first time the Stormers will face the Premiership log leaders. The match will not televised on SuperSport, but it will be streamed live on the Northampton Saints YouTube channel, SaintsTV.

Dobson said that the squad is looking forward to playing at one of the most historic grounds in the world and against a top Premiership team.

“We have seen Northampton on top form this season in both the Premiership and Champions Cup, so this will be a great test for all 26 players involved on Saturday.

“Franklin’s Gardens is a renowned rugby venue, and we hope to play our part in what should be a highly entertaining friendly,” he said.

Stormers Team

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Chris Hollis, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Jurie Matthee, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Keke Morabe, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Connor Evans, 4 Gary Porter, 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Brok Harris (captain).

Bench: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Scarra Ntubeni, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Nama Xaba, 22 Marcel Theunissen, 23 Godlen Masimla, 24 Hacjivah Dayimani, 25 Damian Markus, 26 Suleiman Hartzenberg.

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