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Junior star Imad Khan set for URC debut as Stormers make Damian Willemse shift for Glasgow clash

FILE - Imad Khan is set to make his Stormers debut. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

FILE - Imad Khan is set to make his Stormers debut. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Jan 6, 2023


Cape Town – Junior Springbok star Imad Khan is set to make his Stormers debut in Sunday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Glasgow Warriors in Scotland (5pm SA time kickoff).

Exciting scrumhalf Khan, who turned 19 in December, attended Bishops alongside fellow young star Suleiman Hartzenberg, and has also played Varsity Cup rugby for UCT.

He has a slick service from the base, great speed across the ground and showed his versatility by playing at wing as well for the victorious Junior Bok side in their Under-20 Summer Series triumph in Italy last year, under the captaincy of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

The latter is part of the tour group in Scotland after recovering from injury, but won’t feature at the Scotstoun Stadium.

Coach John Dobson picked his strongest available team on Friday, where Khan is one of just two backs on the bench alongside Angelo Davids as the Stormers stuck with their usual six-forwards strategy.

There is a reconfiguration of the backline from the one that started in the 40-8 victory over the Lions on New Year’s Eve, with Clayton Blommetjies coming in at fullback for Damian Willemse, who shifts to inside centre, which sees Dan du Plessis move to the No 13 jersey and Hartzenberg to right wing for Davids.

The rest of the starting line-up remains the same, with Bok stalwart Steven Kitshoff the captain at loosehead prop and lock Marvin Orie at No 5.

Apart from Khan and Davids, JJ Kotze is the other new face among the replacements for Andre-Hugo Venter.

“This is going to take a significant adjustment on a number of fronts for our team, and this challenge comes at a crucial point in our season,” Dobson said on Friday.

“We have seen some good growth from a lot of these combinations in recent weeks, and would like to see if they can step up while outside of their comfort zone.

“While we haven’t been here long as it took a while to travel, our focus is on taking the next step as a group in these sorts of conditions.”

Stormers Team

15 Clayton Blommetjies 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg 13 Dan du Plessis 12 Damian Willemse 11 Leolin Zas 10 Manie Libbok 9 Paul de Wet 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Willie Engelbrecht 6 Deon Fourie 5 Marvin Orie 4 Ben-Jason Dixon 3 Neethling Fouche 2 Joseph Dweba 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).

Bench: 16 JJ Kotze 17 Brok Harris 18 Sazi Sandi 19 Connor Evans 20 Junior Pokomela 21 Marcel Theunissen 22 Imad Khan 23 Angelo Davids.