De Villiers set to lead Stormers in opener



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Springbok centre Jean de Villiers is ready to lead the Stormers against the Bulls in Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 opener at Newlands. The Bok centre has recovered from a light hamstring injury sustained last week during training and was Monday declared fit for selection.

This is the good news coach Rassie Erasmus had for the Stormers’ supporters in the final build-up to the big match.

There are those who believe it is a gamble to throw De Villiers right into the deep end this weekend as it will be his first match after a bicep muscle injury forced him to withdraw from the Springbok World Cup squad at the end of last year.

Erasmus, however, disagrees. He says De Villiers made enough contact during a few grueling training sessions and he is confident his captain will be as sharp as ever come Saturday.

But a big question mark remains over the availability of Conrad Jantjes at fullback. He has not fully recovered from a hand injury he sustained during the team’s training camp in George in December and could be replaced by Gio Aplon.

Erasmus made it clear he was prepared to rest Jantjes a little bit longer rather than aggravating the injury. Although Aplon can be devastating with the ball in hand, he didn’t really make the grade in last year’s Super 14.

But 2008 is a different ball game and he could prove to be a match winner once again.

Sapa –

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