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Stormers not looking at Smit

The Stormers are looking at three potential players that can be called into the squad to bolster the depth at hooker, but none of them is John Smit.

That was the word from coach Allister Coetzee at the press conference held at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday to announce that the final Stormers warm-up game to the new season will be held at the venue on February 9.

Boland traditionally host a warm-up game at their home ground in Wellington, but as they did at the start of 2010, they have opted to once again play the game at the World Cup soccer venue, which has been the subject of much debate between rugby officials and city council administrators over the past two years.

Western Province have been reluctant to make any announcement that would be seen as an indication that they intend turning their back on their spiritual home at Newlands, but it is accepted that it is only a matter of time before big matches in the Cape will be more regularly played out of Green Point. So the February 9 match, with a 16.00 scheduled kick-off, will be provide rugby fans of a foretaste of what they can expect when the change becomes reality.

Like two years ago, the match is being hosted by Boland, and not WP. The 2010 game coincided with the Cape Town Tens and proved a big hit with fans and should do so again this year. The match will be played two weeks before the first Super Rugby engagement against the Bulls at Loftus on 22 February and Coetzee is likely to select a strong side as the Stormers have fewer warm-up matches on their schedule this year.

The Stormers’ first pre-season fixture is against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on 2 February. Coetzee is going to have to sign up a new hooker, even if only on a short-term basis, before then as Scarra Ntubeni has undergone an operation and will be out for three months. But the coach scotched reports that former Bok captain John Smit, as a Saracens player, might be in his sights.

“We are talking to two or three hookers but I can tell you that we are not talking to John Smit,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee is hopeful that Springbok Tiaan Liebenberg will be sufficiently recovered from the injury sustained during last year’s Currie Cup for him to be available early in the Super Rugby season. For now though it appears Deon Fourie will be the starting No 2 at Loftus in just under a month from now, with AN Other playing off the bench.


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