Stormers confident about season prospects

Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has the unenviable task of cutting down his training squad to 32. &nbsp...

Stormers Captain Jean de Villiers and Duane Vermeulen share a joke at a press confrence

Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has the unenviable task of cutting down his training squad to 32. <?xml:namespace prefix="o"?>

He will announce his final squad to do Super 14 duty in about two weeks time.

The Capetonians resumed on-field training on Monday after taking some time off over Christmas.

The team morale was high and the players did not look like they had just taken two weeks off, tackling each other hard and running flat-out.

There were a few big names on the sidelines at the moment.

Springbok fullback Conrad Jantjes was suffering from a groin injury while prop Brian Mujati was still struggling with a shoulder injury he picked up during the Boks’ end-of-year tour to the <?xml:namespace prefix="st1"?><place w:st="on"><country-region w:st="on">UK</country-region>.

Schalk Burger also watched from the sidelines because of an ankle injury but Erasmus was confident that all of them would be fit in time for the first match against the Sharks at Newlands on Valentine’s Day.

Captain Jean de Villiers, who looks to have beefed-up during the off-season, said they could not be thinking about a semi-final berth at this stage.

“I think the biggest goal for us at this stage is just to win the first game against the Sharks. That will put us in a good position at the start of the tournament as opposed to losing our first three games. Hopefully we won’t go down that road again.”

All eyes this season will be on newcomer Duane Vermuelen to see how well the former Free Stater will slot in at the Stormers.

The big loose forward was happy to be in sun-kissed <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Cape Town.

“I must say, the environment has been great and the people are very easy to get along with. I know Rassie (Erasmus) from our time at the Cheetahs so that helps.”