With the 2018 Super Rugby season upon us, Stormers fans have every reason to be excited about their team.
Not that coach Robbie Fleck’s side is the favourite to lift the trophy at the end of the campaign, but because there will be a lot of new talent on display at Newlands this year.
Let’s start up front.
Prop Steven Kitshoff, who rejoined the squad from France towards the end of last season, is available for the full season.
In the second row, 19-year-old lock Salmaan Moerat will make his debut in the Streeptrui sooner rather than later.
Moerat is one of the most exciting rookies to come out of Cape Town in recent years and is joined by World Junior Player of the Year Juarno Augustus.
Trokkie, as Augustus is known, will serve his apprenticeship under Nizaam Carr but is sure to make an impact whenever he gets the call-up.
In the backline, flyhalf Damian Willemse has an opportunity to cement his place as first choice with Jean-Luc du Plessis still out injured.
Willemse is sure to excite the Newlands faithful with his match-winning ability.
In that trio of Moerat, Augustus (who is currently out injured) and Willemse, the Stormers have some of the best youngsters in the country and the time is now for them to make their mark.
But it’s not only the youngsters that will freshen up the Stormers this year.
Director of Rugby Gert Smal also strengthened their back three with the signings of Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule as well as the versatile JJ Engelbrecht.
Cape fans will also look forward to seeing flanker Steph de Witt in the Stormers jumper.
De Witt signed from the Lions at the start of last season, but suffered a broken ankle before the first game and was subsequently sidelined.
The key for coach Robbie Fleck is to find the balance between youth and experience this term.
And while there are a lot of youngsters coming through the system, 2018 is not another “building” year for the Cape franchise as they have enough experienced stars in their ranks.