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HomeSportClayton Blommetjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg to start for the Stormers in URC opener

Clayton Blommetjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg to start for the Stormers in URC opener

Clayton Blommetjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg to start for the Stormers in URC opener

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The experienced Clayton Blommetjies and young centre Suleiman Hartzenberg will both make their Stormers debut in their United Rugby Championship-opener against Connacht in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

The match against the Irosh side kicks off at 2.30pm at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Blommetjies will start at fullback and fill out a back three with a strong Sevens flavour, with Seabelo Senatla and Angelo Davids out wide. Hartzenberg, meanwhile, will partner up with Dan du Plessis in midfield.

The 32-year-old former Cheetahs back takes over from Warrick Gelant, who joined Racing 92 after the Stormers' triumphant URC season.

At flyhalf, Manie Libbok will look to pick up right where he left off and will form the halfback combination with Paul de Wet, with Godlen Masimla and Sacha Mngomezulu among the replacements.

Captain Ernst van Rhyn will form rhe second row with Marvin Orie, with the vastly experienced Ali Vermaak and Brok Harris completing the front row on either side of Andre-Hugo Venter.

Evan Roos, Junior Pokomela and Hacjivah Dayimani combine for a blockbuster of a loose trio, with Roos at the back of the scrum and Pokomela and Dayimani on the flanks, while there are six forwards on the bench. Kwenzo Blose, Chad Solomon, Neethling Fouche, Adre Smith, Marcel Theunissen and Willie Engelbrecht are all set to provide reinforcement from the bench.

Stormers head coach John Dobson said he is excited to see how some of his players carry their solid pre-season form into game day, while he added that the team are looking forward to kicking off their campaign in a lively Stellenbosch.

"We have seen the likes of Clayton, Suleiman and some of the others show some real promise in our pre-season and it will be good to see how they react on Saturday.

"We have got an exciting blend of youth and experience, along with more than a few players who really stepped up for us consistently last season.

"The players can't wait to get going again and we know how important it will be to make a strong start this week, especially as we are playing in a rugby-mad place like Stellenbosch on what should be a great day for it," he said.

Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Brok Harris, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak.

Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Adré Smith, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Willie Engelbrecht, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu.

@WynonaLouw

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