SUPER CHALLENGE: Salmaan Moerat of the Stormers. Photo: BACKPAGEPIX

Salmaan Moerat is ready for a big year as makes the step up from his rookie Super Rugby season last year.

It will take some topping after his Stormers debut and being named captain of the Junior Springboks at last year’s U20 World Championship.

But for the 20-year-old lock, it’s a massive opportunity to show what he can do.

Competition for a place in the second row of the Stormers pack is obviously fierce with Springbok stalwarts Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit almost guaranteed starters.

But with the pair set for mandatory rests over the course of the season ahead of the World Cup and their futures after the tournament the subject of rumours, Moerat can make a statement by building on his SuperHero Sunday performance in the 33-28 win over the Bulls.

ROLE MODEL: Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit. Photo: BACKPAGEPIX

Asked about his aims for 2019, the Paarl laaitie says: "The competition is really healthy at lock.

“For me as a youngster in the side, I just want to keep learning and feeding off the experienced guys and hopefully if get the opportunity, I will grab it with both hands. And do my part in the team.

“But I will focus on the now and not on what can happen.”

LOAD OF OPTIONS: Boss Fleck. Photo: CHRIS RICCO/BACKPAGEPIX

Up next for Moerat is the final warm-up for this season’s Super Rugby campaign against Boland in Wellington on Saturday.

With Etzebeth only expected to be back two games into the season, the 2m-tall forward is hoping for another start as players jostle to make the match-23 for the trip to Loftus next weekend for the season opener.

STALWART: Ace Eben Etzebeth. Photo: BACKPAGEPIX

And he adds: “I can still improve lot on my game. I can improve on my carries and my conditioning. That’s what warm-up games are about.

“It’s just about implementing what we’ve done in training.

“The guys are really excited, especially looking at the weekend, we have yet another warm-up game against Boland and we hopefully we can tick some boxes.

“This past weekend, it went really well but in saying that I think there are still a couple of thing we need to work on.

“It’s only a warm-up game and the big challenge will be in two weeks’ time against the Bulls."

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