DHL Stormers tighthead prop Neethling Fouche is delighted to see World Cup-winning trio Damian Willemse, Manie Libbok and Deon Fourie back in the mix for Saturday’s titanic Investec Champions Cup Pool 4 tie against defending champions Stade Rochelais at DHL Stadium.
Fouche, who also missed last week’s narrow defeat at Leicester Tigers in England, knows the French side will be eager to put their home loss to Leinster Rugby in Round 1 behind them.
“It’s been great having those guys back, the wealth of experience, calmness and leadership that they bring,” he said. “It’s nice being on the field and looking around and seeing those faces, it gives a comforting feeling.
“The Rugby World Cup feels that you get from them, it just inspires you, and the energy is also automatically higher at training and it’s exceptional having them back.
“La Rochelle, in particular, has a very good scrum. They put most of the TOP 14 teams under pressure in that department and have got almost a full pack of French international forwards, heavy guys.
“We’re going to have to be ready on that front as an eight-unit and be solid together and tight. It’s exciting for us and hopefully, we can go out and execute our plans.”
In the Stade Rochelais line-up could be two familiar faces for DHL Stormers fans, as speedsters Dillyn Leyds and Raymond Rhule used to play for the South African team.
“Leggit [Leyds] has got a massive DHL Stormers story – a legend of the franchise,” Fouche said. “We’re delighted to welcome him and Raymond back. We’ve been watching their careers develop overseas.
“It’s nice getting to see some familiar faces on the other side. But you want to get one up on them because then the beers just taste sweeter afterwards!”
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