Brache takes on Butch James for the Stormers against the Lions
FNB UCT Varsity Cup star Marcel Brache made his Super Rugby debut at the weekend, with over a dozen Varsity Cup players in action at Newlands on Saturday when the Stormers hosted the Lions.
Brache, 24, was added to the Stormers' bench at the last minute after regular starters Bryan Habana and Joe Pietersen cried off with colds.
Then, on Saturday against the Lions, Brache was pressed into action – on debut – when starting winger Danie Poolman (a Varsity Cup winner with the FNB Maties) picked up a serious hamstring injury towards the end of the first half.
Brache was shunted straight into the crucial inside centre position, with Stormers – and Springbok – captain Jean de Villiers shifted out to the wing. The debutant delivered a polished performance which had coach Allister Coetzee singing his praises afterwards.
Brache has in just two years made the transition from Varsity Cup player (a debutant in 2010 and a tournament winner with the Ikeys in 2011), to Vodacom Cup player, to Currie Cup player and, finally, Super 15 player.
The versatiel backline player has formed a winning partnership with Tim Whitehead in the 2011 Varsity Cup winning campaign. Whitehead meanwhile has matured to a star performer at the Sharks following his move away from WP.
Don Armand – a former Varsity Cup teammate of Brache's, who was still playing Varsity Cup rugby this year – made his first start for the Stormers with a superb performance against the Lions.
Armand, with four previous appearances off the bench, started at No.7 and was his team's main source of line-out ball as the home side won 27-17 to remain in second place on the joint Super Rugby log and in first position on the South African conference.