Kurt-Lee Arendse test passed, now Suleiman Hartzenberg sets sights on Makazole Mapimpi

Stormers wing Suleiman Hartzenberg wins the ball ahead of Bulls counterpart Kurt-Lee Arendse last weekend. Photo: BackpagePix

Stormers wing Suleiman Hartzenberg wins the ball ahead of Bulls counterpart Kurt-Lee Arendse last weekend. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Dec 29, 2023


He staved off the abilities of World Cup winner Kurt-Lee Arendse a week ago.

Now Stormers youngster Suleiman Hartzenberg has another Springbok, back-to-back World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi of the Sharks, in his sights this weekend.

The 20-year-old Hartzenberg is only three games into the new season after returning from a serious knee injury, but he has already set the pitch alight with his pace and silky attacking skills.

Had it not been for the TMO ruling out a try against the Bulls last Saturday, he would’ve been on the score-sheet.

But, he will get the chance to show his try-scoring ability at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (7pm kick-off) when the Stormers and Sharks battle it out in the final South African United Rugby Championship derby of 2023.

Hartzenberg and his teammates hope to end the year on a high and make it three wins at home in a row after seeing off La Rochelle and the Bulls, while the looming battle between the Junior Springbok and Mapimpi will be followed with keen interest.

He is looking forward to testing himself against the Bok wing.

“I think it’s going to be a good challenge for me, as I get to play against one of the best in the country,” Hartzenberg said on the Stormers website.

“However, in saying that, I’m not going to focus too much on it as I will be putting my attention on what I need to do for the team and what my role is.

“Regardless of their wins this season, I think it’s going to be a tough game. We are up against a quality side, but we are more focused on what our roles are and what we need to do.

“I think for us, it’s massively important to keep improving each week and to keep Cape Town smiling – and a key target for me is to settle in even more and try to end the year on a good note.”

Hartzenberg injured his knee during last season’s Currie Cup campaign in what was a breakthrough season for the youngster.

He’s been a revelation on the wing, but can slot with ease into the No 13 jersey when the Stormers need him to.

How he kept the Bulls’ prolific try-scorer Arendse quiet last weekend was impressive.

Equally impressive was his aerial play and how easily he slotted into the starting line-up, having only recently recovered from injury.

The 20-year-old showed he can swim when thrown in the deep end, and tomorrow will be another test of his adaptability against international players.

“Playing the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium was amazing because the amount of support we got there was ridiculous, and we loved it – the atmosphere, the vibe, it was really cool,” Hartzenberg said.

“On the field, for us, it was all about what we needed to do, and sticking to our plans, and understanding that sometimes things might not always go our way, but still find ways to apply pressure.

“It was important to secure the win (against the Bulls) because we had to take the momentum from the La Rochelle game two weeks ago, so that we can keep on building for what’s to come.

“It also helped put us in a more favourable position for what we want to achieve this season.”


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