Manie Libbok starts, Ruhan Nel back as Salmaan Moerat leads star-studded Stormers against Dragons

Manie Libbok makes a return to the Stormers. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Manie Libbok makes a return to the Stormers. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Dec 2, 2022


Cape Town – Stormers coach John Dobson wasted no time in reintroducing most of his Springboks for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against the Dragons in Gqeberha (2pm kickoff).

There are nine changes in total to the team that started in last weekend’s 36-19 win over the Scarlets, with Salmaan Moerat taking over the captaincy from Ernst van Rhyn at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Dobson stuck to his promise mentioned in his ‘Dobbo’s Diary’ column on Thursday by picking 11 players of colour in the starting XV.

Moerat will be partnered by fellow Bok lock Marvin Orie in the second row, although front-row stalwarts Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe are getting a breather after a hectic November tour of Europe, along with utility back Damian Willemse.

Manie Libbok, though, will wear the No 10 jersey after featuring in the Tests against France, Italy and England, and he will have Herschel Jantjies alongside him.

The other Bok tourist, Deon Fourie, will play off the bench.

Stormers fans will be delighted to see outside centre Ruhan Nel back from a lengthy neck injury layoff, while Tristan Leyds comes in at wing for Angelo Davids.

There is a new-look loose trio, with Willie Engelbrecht and Nama Xaba on the flanks, while Kwenzo Blose gets an opportunity at loosehead prop.

Dobson has picked a powerful bench, with the likes of Fourie, JJ Kotze, Brok Harris, Paul de Wet and Kade Wolhuter primed to make a major impact in the second half.

“We know that the people of Gqeberha have plenty of passion for our team, so we can’t wait to get out there and experience the atmosphere at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,” Dobson said on Friday.

“There have been a number of changes, and we are excited to see how the players coming in make an impact on Saturday.”

Stormers Team

15 Clayton Blommetjies 14 Tristan Leyds 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Dan du Plessis 11 Leolin Zas 10 Manie Libbok 9 Herschel Jantjies 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Willie Engelbrecht 6 Nama Xaba 5 Marvin Orie 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain) 3 Neethling Fouche 2 Joseph Dweba 1 Kwenzo Blose.

Bench: 16 JJ Kotze 17 Brok Harris 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko 19 Connor Evans 20 Deon Fourie 21 Paul de Wet 22 Kade Wolhuter 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba.