Alberts return no great concern for Dobson, Stormers

Cape Town - The inclusion of Willem Alberts in the Lions squad for the weekend's Super Rugby action is of no great concern to Stormers coach John Dobson.

The 35-year-old Alberts, who notched up 43 Tests for the Springboks between 2010 and 2016, was a surprise inclusion on the Lions' bench when coach Ivan van Rooyen named his side on Thursday. 

Battling with a bicep injury since arriving from Stade Francais, Alberts was expected to spend a few more weeks sidelined before featuring for the side he last played for in 2009. 

A bruising forward who earned the nickname the 'Bone Collector' during his prime, Alberts will bring immense physicality to a Lions side that has in the early stages of 2020 looked nowhere near possessing the quality that got them to three successive Super Rugby finals from 2016-2018. 

The Stormers, though, boast one of the most physical, well-drilled packs in the competition presently.

"He's obviously a great forward and a great Springbok, but this competition takes you a few weeks to get into it. It'll take him some adaptation," Dobson said at Newlands on Thursday after hearing of Alberts' inclusion. 

"I'm sure they're trying to use him to make a big impact, but he is also coming off the bench to be met by messrs (JD) Schickerling, (Frans) Malherbe and (Cobus) Wiese, so I'm not too concerned, to be honest."

While Pieter-Steph du Toit is the obvious behemoth among the Stormers forwards, Dobson has also handed a start to highly-rated youngster Juarno Augustus, who completes his return from a long injury lay-off.

"He's been out for a long time, so we gave him some game time off the bench last week and to me he is one our top loose forwards," Dobson said of the highly-rated 22-year-old.

"He's got real x-factor and plays very similar to Jaco Coetzee. With Jaco injured, it was absolutely a no brainer."

Dobson confirmed that he would look at giving Augustus around 60 minutes of playing time at Ellis Park. 

"The paradigm around Trokkie is that he is unfit, but he is built, unfortunately," the coach said.

"He's got a bigger engine than people think. Any loose forward playing like he does will probably be around then (60 minutes).

"Last week he hadn't played since late August, but he didn't struggle at all."

Saturday's derby kicks off at 15:05.

Teams:

Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith

Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Wandisile Simelane

Stormers

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Johan du Toit, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)