Stormers desperate to put their best foot forward in Super Rugby opener

John Dobson shares a light moment with his squad during a training session on January 28 2020.
John Dobson shares a light moment with his squad during a training session on January 28 2020.
Image: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images

The Stormers are desperate to put their best foot forward when they kick-off their Super Rugby campaign against the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday.

To befit the occasion coach John Dobson will deploy what he deems his best available team.

“We’ve got our strongest team, with all our Boks available plus a British and Irish Lion, and from a business perspective we want to get people into Newlands,” said Dobson.

“I know that it is the Met this weekend etc etc and that is a rival attraction, but we have the brewings of a really special Stormers team.

"If we win well on Saturday then we set up our derby against the Bulls the following week as a really great occasion.

"I don’t think we have had a more important opening game for the Stormers in quite a while.”

This weekend’s clash is a potential momentum builder against a redoubtable team that has featured in the last three semi-finals.

It is hoped in the Cape a win this week will snowball into something significant.

The idea is a win will give the Stormers confidence for their clash against the Bulls a week later which in turn is supposed to embolden them in a favourable draw that will see them play the bulk of their matches at home in the first half of the competition.

“The draw is one of several things that works in our favour this year,” said Dobson.

“The other is that this is our last season playing at Newlands, which actually means a surprising amount to the players.

"The other is that we have the influence of several Springboks who were part of a World Cup win. That must mean something.

“We are really in a great space at the moment and we are excited. The injury roster is relatively good.

"Only Cobus Wiese, JD Schickerling and Juarno Augustus are unavailable for this game. We have our best team and we have to go flat out on Saturday,” said the straight talking coach.

“We will start with either (David) Meihuizen or Chris (van Zyl).

"I would have no problem starting with David. He is a phenomenal talent and I think he has a bright future in the game.

"Scotland have been trying hard to get him to come and play there and that is not surprising if you look at his physical dimensions, such as standing 2.06 metres tall,” said Dobson.

It means world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit will remain on the side of the scrum, while Wales and British and Irish Lions star Jamie Roberts will wear the No12 jersey.