Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that he is “looking at a few changes” to the team that will try to resurrect their tour of hell against the Reds on Saturday, with Juan de Jongh likely to feature in midfield after his classy cameo against the Brumbies.
Coetzee told the Cape Times that fullback Jaco Taute will also be back from shoulder problems to take the field, which could see the backline rejigged in Brisbane.
Young wing Kobus van Wyk could be one of the casualties from the side that went down 25-15 to the Brumbies in Canberra after his blunder, that resulted in a crucial late try to Robbie Coleman, arguably cost the Stormers the game. With Taute fit again, Gio Aplon could return to right wing, with Sailosi Tagicakibau on the left.
De Jongh made a big impact when he took to the field in Brisbane, and he, along with Aplon, began a sparkling break-out from behind the Stormers’ own goalline that nearly resulted in a try. De Jongh eventually got his touchdown five minutes later following a strong lineout drive inside the Brumbies’ 22.
The Springbok centre would add some much-needed punch to the midfield, where Jean de Villiers and Damian de Allende have done duty all season long due to De Jongh’s injury-enforced absence.
Coetzee said last week that he was thinking of giving De Villiers a break against the Reds, but that may change following the Brumbies defeat.
“Juan was impressive when he came on, which is a very big positive for us. We’ll have to see what it is going to look like on Monday in terms of the injuries. We will be looking at a few changes, definitely,” Coetzee said.
“Jaco Taute is definitely fit. With Jean, it depends. We are in a position where we have to win – our one point from this tour is not good enough. We will have to look carefully at team selection and how the Reds went against the Sharks and Lions.”
Schalk Burger already left his teammates behind in Brisbane yesterday to return home with a quad muscle tear that will keep him out for the next three weeks.
The Stormers are well covered at loose forward, but the Cape Times understands that Western Province Vodacom Cup flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe, as well as lock Tazz Fuzani, left Cape Town yesterday to join the Stormers in Australia.
Notshe in particular was outstanding for WP in a 56-22 victory over EP Kings at City Park in Athlone at the weekend, while Fuzani had a busy game too and imposed his physicality on the EP pack.
The Stormers are under severe pressure to resurrect their “tour of hell” with a victory over the Reds, and Coetzee called on his players to “own up and take responsibility”.
“I’m so annoyed and frustrated. We’ve got to learn from last time – we were one point behind and we had a plan to get out of our half, and all of a sudden it’s a different kick (from Aplon),” Coetzee said.
“A yellow card here, not kicking out penalties, not converting easy kicks for poles – that is really the cause of not winning the game. We pitch up with attitude, we have fight, we score tries, and then we let them in with a soft try.
“Players have to own up, that’s the big thing, and be held accountable for that. And that’s how you’ve got to move on.”
But one has to question why the Stormers only really came out of their shells when they were 18-10 behind. A similar thing happened against the Chiefs, when they made a comeback from 24-6 down.
Peter Grant, who made a number of uncharacteristic errors and missed goal-kicks, was unusually deep on attack, which Coetzee attributed to the Brumbies’ rush defence.
“I don’t know if it’s the pressure getting to certain players, as it’s not everyone. In the last two games, we were one point and four points behind, and then ended up without a losing bonus point,” he said.
“Our lineouts were not good again – we scrummed well – and that’s part of where the game is won and lost. Some okes played their guts out, and it’s frustrating to see those mistakes creeping in. When we took the ball through phases, we looked really good.” - Cape Times