Stormers seek Irish inspiration

The Stormers are trying to lure Irish flyhalf David Humphreys to Cape Town for the Vodacom Super 14.

Humphreys, 34, has scored 560 points in his 72 Tests – including five as captain.

“There is the possibility of Humphreys taking a sabbatical (from international rugby),” Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe told the Cape Times. “Ireland are thinking of saving him for the 2007 World Cup.

“The problem is that he has a contract with Ulster, and there are one or two complications getting him out of that. I’m positive. The talks are still alive. We’re hoping for the best. I think our chances of getting him are 50-50.”

However, Ulster rugby chief Michael Reid later dismissed the reports. “David will not be leaving,” he told BBC Sport. “The Stormers have not been in touch either officially or unofficially.”

Meanwhile, the Stormers are also trying to negotiate a release from the Leopards for their flyhalf Naas Olivier.

“Naas is a very promising player and will be good back-up for Peter Grant,” said Van der Merwe. “If he decides to come, it will only be for an initial period of a month. We can give him a run in a warm-up game to see how he goes.

“Naas had an excellent season for the Leopards last year. He’s a brilliant goalkicker and distributes well. It will be a massive opportunity for him.”

Van der Merwe explained that the decision to add to the depth at flyhalf was not a vote of no confidence in Peter Grant.

“We have lots of confidence in Peter. We back him and he’s our No 1, but he can’t play in every game. If you play him non-stop, he’ll break down before the end of the Super 14,” he said. “It also remains to be seen how Humphreys will adapt to Super 14 rugby. The pace and intensity is very different to what he is used to.”