Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 02:22

Van Heerden will soon be calling the shots at Stormers

Van Heerden will soon be calling the shots at Stormers
Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 02:22
Van Heerden will soon be calling the shots at Stormers
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT:  Ruben Van Heerden’s signing has been welcomed with a smile and a list of expectations from the Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani.

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Van Heerden joined the Stormers last week on a short-term contract from Exter Chiefs.

The 25-year-old, with the ability to play in both positions in the second row, has been named in the 27-man touring squad for the United Rugby Champions match against Ulster in Belfast.

Fronting the media Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani revealed Van Heerden will don the No.4 jersey.

“I’m trying really hard to hide my smile,” Hlungwani said when asked about Van Heerden’s signing.

“It is always nice when you get a new lock coming into the system, especially one with the quality like Ruben.

“He has played for the Bulls, Sharks and Exeter Chiefs and has massive experience.

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“From a coaching point of view, I spoke to him briefly, just introduced myself and he introduced himself. We chatted via phone regarding expectations.

“But the one thing that strikes me is, he is a very humble guy.

“And in terms of expectation, he is coming in to fill in that four position, but he can also play five.

“Our pack strive on physicality and a high level of intelligence when it comes to lineouts so we just want him to get comfortable as quickly as possible and proved how good of a player he is.”

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It is a challenging start to a Stormers career for the lock, given that he is joining a very understrength pack.

The team is without Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe due to their month-long Springbok resting period, while Joseph Dweba, Neethling Fouche and Deon Fourie are also missing from the trip.

Springbok Marvin Orie, who has been named captain in the absence of Kitshoff, is expected to take his international rest period after the match against Ulster.

This means that a lot of responsibility, including the lineout calls, could fall on Van Heerden, Hlungwani revealed.

“I always encourage fours and sevens to be comfortable with calling the lineouts, we always want to have room to substitute your five so your four has to take over,” Hlungwani said.

“So, I expect him to call the line-outs, he has called for the Bulls, Sharks and Exeter Chiefs, so in a couple of weeks once he is settled in and understands the systems he will be calling for us.”

The Stormers will name their team to face Ulster on Thurday.

PV: 11
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