John Dobson and Deon Fourie shed light on how the DHL Stormers will manage the Springbok resting period during a three-week break leading up to the Vodacom URC clash with the Sharks in Durban.
The DHL Stormers secured a home Champions Cup playoff by beating Stade Francais with a bonus point in a chaotic final-round encounter in Paris.
The round of 16 will see the Stormers face defending champions La Rochelle in Cape Town in April in a rematch of the dramatic pool stage clash at Cape Town Stadium.
First, however, the Stormers will have a three-week break before resuming duty in the Vodacom URC with the return coastal derby against the Sharks at Kings Park on 17 February.
“We have gone on this incredible run,” Dobson said when asked about how the Stormers will be using their break.
“What is important in the next few weeks – with the Springboks on [compulsory] rest – is that these guys get a rest.
“We will play a couple of ‘friendlies’ against Maties and UCT – to ensure the other guys are included and ensure they buy into the same values that make this team so great.”
There has been some confusion over the mandatory rest period that the Springboks will have to take and when they will be available for selection again.
Stormers captain Deon Fourie explained that himself, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok will not be available for the next five weeks, three of those will be spent away from rugby entirely, before a training period of two weeks.
This means that the Stormers will not have their trio of World Cup-winning Springboks for the match against the Sharks, but they will be ready for the north-south derby against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on 2 March.
Dobson explained that one player who will be exempt from the protocol is Frans Malherbe, who has yet to play after the World Cup due to lower back issues.
“He will be available to play against the Sharks,” Dobson said of the Springbok tighthead.
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