SO I know it is a bit early but I am a bit bored (slow day at the office) and rugby news is a bit slow. So here goes.
15. Jaco Taute: Has started both warm ups and although not quite in top form the smart money is on him to wear the 15 jersey. JoeP in his time on the field did look in great form but maybe a cameo of the bench would be best at this stage.
14. Gio Aplon: Not yet in his most devastating form but do not give this guy an inch.
13. Jean de Villiers: With De Jongh set to be out for a week the smart money is on JdV to take on the no 13 role for the first game and then switch back to 12 when Juan becomes available.
12. Damian D’Allande: The youngsters move to the no 12 channel has been good. He is big and strong. Have not yet seen enough of him at 12 to say how good he really is. This will be a great test against the Bulls as the Bulls have some good IC of their own.
11. Bryan Habana: World Class picks himself.
10. Elton Jantjies: Although he has not had a run in the warm ups. (due to personal reasons) He will have to start of with a bang. Coleman is OK at best and with Grant not yet back the only other option is Schreuder. I must say I was impressed with Schreuder at 10 (more than at 9) but most of his outings have been as sub. And I will keep it that way.
9. Nick Groom: Stormers do not have a above average 9. Duvenage has the best boot and Groom’s service is the fastest. I like the fact that Groom can take a sniping break thus keeping the defense honest. AC will prob go with Duvenage as he will want his boot for the first game of the season.
8. Duane Vermeulen: He is the current bok 8 and has been in good form. He can play to the ball a bit and carries strong.
7. Siya Kolisi: I feel one of the most under rated flanks in SA. The strength of the man in a tackle is immense he always take the guy 2-3 meter back. Stormers defense is on another level when he gets his rhythm going.
6. Schalk Burger: He is suppose to be ready for the game. And with Eben out the Stormers will need his physicality. Not sure how he will go after a year on the sidelines. But Burger has never taken to long to get back to full steam.
5. Andries Bekker: The tall man will have to take his game up a notch in 2013. (to where it was SR’11) Injuries has ruined his last season and a half. Hopefully he can remain injury free for this season. And hopefully AC gives him enough breaks during the season as to not burn him out come end of season.
4. Reinhard Elstadt: With Eben out of SR for at least 6-8 weeks. Elstadt will have to stand up. He did well here in 2011 and if he can drop his tendency for a brain fart (aka dirty tactics) he could become a great player. Rhodes is also an option but I will play him of the bench.
3. Pat Cilliers: He was bought to anchor the reversing Stormers scrum and that is what he will need to do. I have been impressed with him in the Bok team every time he has played. We will just have to see how it goes in the Stormers engine room.
2. Deon Fourie: With this specific team he is a must for me. He does the fetching role from no.2 (ala Bismark) and is a real live wire in broken play. His weakness of late is his throw ins come line out time. But he will just have to work at that. I mean Bekker is so tall if you can throw high enough it should not be a problem.
1. Steven Kitshoff: He has only just turned 21 and is already in his 3rd season of SR. He is not the finished article yet but he is just getting better and better.
16. Matin Bezuidenhoudt: With Tiaan touch and go to be ready for the game I would not risk him Bezuidenhoudt has been good when ever he got an opportunity and should be a solid replacement. Maybe Fourie could move to 6 and give Burger a brake in his 1st game back?
17. Frans Malherbe: With Cilliers able to play 1 and 3 it makes sense to pick a tighthead as cover. Malherbe has slowly been growing and surpassing other players in South Africa. At only 21 he is also still learning the trade.
18. De Cock Steenkamp: He is a specialist 5 jumper and with Bekker injury prone always a good option on the bench. He rarely does something spectacular but he is a solid player that does his job.
19. Micheal Rhodes: With Deon and Kolisi being able to cover 6. I would o for Rhodes as a 4/7 replacement. Don Armand has also been there and there about but I like what I have seen of Rhodes at the Lions. Also a bit of a tendency to play a bit dirty but he brings more to the table than Armand for me.
20. Dewald Duvenage: I think AC will go other way round. Which might be the right choice. Groom on the bench does offer more than Duvenage. But I would like to strat the game fast against the Bulls.
21. Louis Schreuder: I would make him my FH back up if Grant is still in the land of the rising sun. He looked better than Coleman and with JoeP to take the kick later on it makes more sense. Taute of coarse can also kick at post.
22. Joe Pietersen: Looks to be back to his best form. Just love this guys running lines. Has real x-factor and can swing a game in the last 20 if needed.
23. Pitty SANZAR have not adopted this law. As this is a move in the right direction and will be law by 2015 thus why not start getting used to it? Maybe Aus does not have enough props??? Not sure but a sad move by SANZAR.
Barr injury I think AC’s team would be pretty close. As I said the only change I believe will be at 9. Where he will go with Dewald.
As for the Bulls they might look like this:
15. Zane, 14. JJ Engelbrecht, 13. Mapoe, 12. F Venter, 11. B Basson, 10. M Steyn, 9. F Hougaard, 8. P Spies, 7. Arno Botha, 6. Dewald Potgieter(of Steggman), 5 Kruger, 4. Flip, 3. Werner, 2. Chilli, 1. Dean
16. VIsagie, 17. Mallet, 18. Willemse, 19. Jacque, 20. Vermaak, 21. Pollard, 22. Wynand Olivier.
Will be a cracker of a match and not easy to pick a winner.