The inclusion of former Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, as one of eight Springboks, highlighted the Stormers team announcement on Thursday for the Super Fan Saturday feast at Loftus this weekend.
Stormers coach John Dobson didn’t hesitate to include Gelant for their match-up against the Lions, which was set to follow the clash between the Bulls and Sharks.
Aside from Gelant and the absence of injured flank Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dobson included all his World Cup winners in a team which would be led by Bok captain Siya Kolisi.
Gelant would make his first appearance for the Stormers at his former stomping ground after making the move from Pretoria to Cape Town at the start of the lockdown period.
He was joined by fellow Boks like flyhalf Damian Willemse, scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, captain Siya Kolisi, prop Frans Malherbe, hooker Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff in the starting line-up.
Another World Cup winner and hooker, Bongi Mbonambi, was among the replacements.
Dobson named 11 players on his bench in a 26-man squad, while the likes of prop Leon Lyons, utility forward Hannes Gouws, flyhalf Tim Swiel, centre Michal Hazner, wing Angelo Davids and fullback Tristan Leyds were all set to earn their first Stormers caps from the extended replacements bench.
Back from the Sharks, wing Leolin Zas was due to make his first appearance for the Stormers since early 2017, having returned to his home franchise last year.
Dobson said there was a lot of excitement among the members of the squad as they prepared to finally get back on the field and pull the jersey on.
“It has been a while for everyone. Players, coaches and our fans are all hungry for rugby,” said Dobson.
“We cannot wait to get there and take the next step as we build towards the new competition which kicks off next month.”
Warrick Gelant, Leolin Zas, Dan du Plessis, Rikus Pretorius, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Juarno Augustus, Ernst van Rhyn, Siya Kolisi (capt), JD Schickerling, Salmaan Moerat, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: Bongi Mbonambi, Leon Lyons, Neethling Fouche, Chris van Zyl, Nama Xaba, Hannes Gouws, Paul de Wet, Tim Swiel, Michal Hazner, Angelo Davids, Tristan Leyds.