Rassie Erasmus has named a predictable-looking 26-man squad for the Stormers 4-match antipodean tour, which kicks off next weekend. Peter Grant is the only recognised flyhalf in the group.
A lot of noise has been made around Erasmus’s decision to omit the promising Isma-eel Dollie from his squad, given that former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown has yet to be released from Japanese Club Rugby. Grant himself has blown more hot than cold, thus far and the decision to entrust young Joe Pietersen, himself normally a wing, with the backup flyhalf role while leaving the talented Dollie in Cape Town seems, frankly, a bizarre one.
There is a tour spot for uncapped 19-year old sevens sensation Juan de Jongh, who prefers to operate at centre in the 15-man game. Don’t be too surprised to see the youngster given a run at come stage over the course of the month-long tour, given Jean de Villiers’ penchant for injury.
Another surprising selection is that of unheralded 21-year old prop Wikus Blaauw, a 1.9m and 125kg monster of a lad, who played for the WP u21 team last year, as well as representing Namibia at under 19 level. Erasmus has clearly seen some promise in the youngster and will hope that he can bring more of the sort of stability to the Stormers scrum that Lions import Brian Mujati has done of late.
Here is the full touring squad. Expect there to be a change as Brown is brought in halfway through:
Props: Brian Mujati, JD Moller, Juan Harris, Wikus Blaauw
Hookers: Tiaan Liebenberg, Schalk Brits
Locks: Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Ross Skeate
Loose Forwards: Luke Watson, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Pieter Myburgh, Robbie Diack
Scrumhalves: Ricky Januarie, Bolla Conradie
Flyhalf: Peter Grant
Centres: Jean de Villiers, Gcobani Bobo, Dylan des Fountain, Juan de Jongh
Wings: Sireli Naqelevuki, Tonderai Chavanga, Joe Pietersen
Fullbacks: Conrad Jantjes, Gio Aplon