CAPE TOWN – With the amount of rugby Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi has played this year, you can’t be blamed for questioning his inclusion for their Super Rugby game against the Jaguares on Saturday.
A 25-man touring squad was yesterday named for the Buenos Aires fixture as the Stormers resume their Super Rugby campaign at Estadio Jose Amalfitani following the international break.
There’s of course nothing hanging on this game or the next one against the Sharks as the Stormers - who have won only five of their 14 games this season - cannot qualify for the playoffs.
The next two encounters can, however, be good for testing new combinations and regaining some confidence, while getting one or two more log points would also be good. But that’s about it.
Following the Springboks’ 25-10 defeat to England in the series-concluding Newlands fixture, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said that Kolisi - whose last break came against the Sunwolves - could do with a rest.
So including him for the Argentina fixture with a lot of international rugby still to be played makes it a questionable move, even if he plays off the bench.
Looking at the rest of the squad, vice-captain, Eben Etzebeth, will miss out on the trip, even though he was expected to make his return during this game.
The likes of loose forwards Juarno Augustus and Jaco Coetzee, locks Chris van Zyl and JD Schickerling, hooker Scarra Ntubeni, halfbacks Jano Vermaak and Damian Willemse, centre Dan du Plessis and outside backs SP Marais, Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla also miss out due to injury.
And while Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is expecting a tough match in challenging conditions, he’s confident that his charges will approach the game with a “fresh mindset”.
“We know that this will be a tough match in difficult conditions, but we are embracing the challenge that we will face over there,” Fleck said. “After the break we have a fresh mindset and are determined to give a good account of ourselves.”
Stormers Tour Squad:
Craig Barry, Nizaam Carr, Damian de Allende, Jan de Klerk, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, JJ Engelbrecht, JC Janse van Rensberg, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, Raymond Rhule, Carlu Sadie, Ramone Samuels, Josh Stander, Kobus van Dyk, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese.