Stormers' Springboks

The Stormers’ Springbok trio Deon Fourie, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse. Photo: @TheStormers via X.

Can rusty Springboks salvage struggling Stormers’ season?

The Stormers have just completed a winless four-match tour of Europe and coach John Dobson will be looking to fast-track their big name Springboks into the team to help turn their fortunes around.

Stormers' Springboks

The Stormers’ Springbok trio Deon Fourie, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse. Photo: @TheStormers via X.

And the Stormers’ URC encounter against Zebre at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday presents Dobson with the first opportunity to utilise his Springboks.

Addressing the media on Tuesday night, Dobson name dropped four Springboks — Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok — who have returned to training and could all potentially feature for the Stormers in this must-win game against Zebre.

However, there is a slight concern over the Springboks’ lack of game-time, since they haven’t played a match post the World Cup final which was over a month ago.

“We have to be slightly careful with how we give them game time. They have been off after the World Cup, relaxing fairly hard for a while,” the Stormers boss said.

“It’s more about perhaps not pushing Manie for 80 minutes, but deciding between giving him 20 minutes off the bench or we could start with him, controlling his minutes and sub him.

“I think they do need to get some rust off, maybe not all of them. Certainly, Manie and Damian need to shake some rust off. We just need to manage it.

“I don’t think they can go from zero to 80, but I’m not going to keep them in cotton wool and throw them into an away game against Leicester or the game against La Rochelle. That wouldn’t be fair. They need a bit of a run at home.”

ALSO READ | Springboks make major coaching appointment – report


Dobson later admits the team has missed what he calls ‘game drivers’ and revealed that Springboks utility forward Deon Fourie is ready to go despite having to deal with some post-World Cup personal grief.

“That’s probably where we have struggled the most as a collective. Having game drivers like Manie or a real warrior who can lead by example like Deon, he is huge from a leadership point of view,” Dobson said of the Springboks.

“Deon has been through one of the craziest six weeks. He won a World Cup, his father passed away, he has just come back from the funeral.

“We offered him more time away, but he wants to play rugby. Just seeing him out there in the field, knowing who he is and what he’s done, has given us a massive bit of confidence.”

ALSO READ | Newly retired Springboks star lands big coaching job


Dobson also revealed that the World Cup winners were joined in training were loose forwards Hacjivah Dayimani and Evan Roos, tighthead prop Sazi Sandi, wing Leolin Zas and centre Suleiman Hartzenberg, who were all absent due to injury and suspension.

URC Stormers
Stormers and Springboks loose forward Evan Roos. Photo: @Stormers via X.