The World Cup and all the excitement it brought made the wait for Super Rugby to kick-off a particularly unbearable one. But now it’s finally here.
That, in itself, should be enough to look forward to. But just in case you needed a little more, here are five players who can have a big say in what goes down at Newlands when the Stormers take on the Hurricanes on Saturday (kick-off 3.05 pm).
Japan 2019 marked the evolution of the Springbok captain.
Don’t get it wrong, he was big before the World Cup and he was obviously a key player for both the Stormers and the Springboks, but that podium moment in Yokohama on November 2 just elevated him to a whole new level.
It will be good to see how he lifts the Stormers this year, as a leader and a player, and that’s certainly something to look out for.
He has the muscle and he has the hustle. He has the spatial awareness. He has the pace. He has the ability to grab a try in the tightest of spaces.
He has a lot, really. As a winger, there’s not too much he doesn’t have, in fact.
Stormers coach John Dobson has already said that Lam is an obvious threat as they prepare for their Super Rugby-opener against the Kiwis, and that was no exaggeration.
Pieter-Steph du Toit
I don’t think there’s enough space to recap all Du Toit’s successes and accolades of the last few years. But as he’d be quick to tell you, all of that will count for little on Saturday afternoon. And perhaps it’s exactly that that should be the scary part for the Hurricanes.
Every time he runs onto a pitch, it’s like he has something to prove to himself and to the entire rugby world. He never drops the intensity. His defence, in fact his physical abilities in general, are something else. And what makes it even more impressive is that work rate, his physicality and his consistency.
I’m pretty sure Perenara epitomises that player you simply have to respect for his abilities, but you’re not too crazy about the idea of facing him as an opponent. A kind of a love-hate situation, if you will.
But Perenara is more than just a lively pack-motivator, he’s one of the Hurricanes’ key men, and he doesn’t fail when it comes to reminding his opposition of that.
Jantjies not only aces his basics, but the pace he can inject into a game, his sharp reaction and his seemingly-effortless efficiency are impossible-to-turn-away bonuses.