Doug Wheatley has been contracted to strengthen the Stormers tight five next year. The 27-year-old prop has played in the competitive English Premier League the past four years and played opposite some of the best scrummagers in world rugby.
Like Eddie Andrews Wheatley caan scrum on both sides. This will be a step in the right direction to boosting the Stormers tight five who struggled this year.
Gary Gold, the Stormers technical analyst, was the coach of London Irish and knows Wheatley. Gold said: “I think he has the potential to make an impact in the Super 14 series, because he’s been exposed to top level competition for the past four years.
“He regularly played opposite players like Mike Worsley, Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman and Andrew Sheridan in the Premier League.
“He played opposite strong men like Sylvain Marconnet in the Heineken Cup series.
“Last season you did not have matches with the same high intensity week after week in South Africa. You would, for example, play against smaller teams like the Griffons, Border and the Falcons for two or three weeks and then all of a sudden you played against strong props like Kees Lensing (previously with the Bulls) and BJ Botha (Sharks).
“If you don’t succeed in England, you have nowhere to hide. I think a player like Wheatley who has played nearly 50 matches there, has a lot to offer,” Gold said.
“It will be of prime importance to have a proper rotation system because the Super 14 series will be a long and hard competition and that’s where Doug will be valuable.”
The Stormers have already started their Super14 preparation and The Stormers will play a warm-up against the South Eastern Cape regional team, the Southern Spears. The Stormers first Super 14 match is against the Cats in Johannesburg on February 11.