CAPE TOWN - Hopefully Cobus Wiese will be ready and wide awake for all the “clever tricks” the Cheetahs could throw at the Stormers on Saturday when he gets his first start of the season, because his coach Robbie Fleck sure is.
Wiese will start at No 6 in the place of injured Rynhardt Elstadt, who was ruled out for three months with an ankle injury. Fleck said that his versatility and energy make him a good addition to the loose trio.
“His physicality around the park is pretty impressive. He has a high work rate and his line-out skills are decent. So he offers us a lot of options. He’s a young kid with a lot of energy. We just thought the balance with the loose forwards would suit us better for this game with him starting,” Fleck said.
Another man who has been awarded for his good performances is Dan du Plessis, who will get his second start of the season against Franco Smith’s team, with Dan Kriel moving to the bench.
“Dan du Plessis had a pretty impressive game against the Kings. We’ll see what he can do. When he came on his combination was solid and his communication on defence was good.”
The Stormers have also been boosted by the return of fit-again Jano Vermaak, who impressed before he had to sit out due to injury.
Vermaak will partner up with Robert du Preez, who will again start in the No 10 jersey after a solid performance against the Sunwolves.
One thing that wasn’t great last week, especially in the first half, was the Stormers’ defence. But Fleck is confident in his team’s ability to get it right against a team that will certainly test them.
“There has been a bigger emphasis on defence. We weren’t happy with our defence in the first half. The good thing about this team is when we talk about certain things, they correct it. So hopefully we see an improvement there.”
Fleck also praised the Cheetahs for their innovative play, including their interesting line-out options in recent weeks. The Free Staters have used backs in their line-outs or mixed up the positioning of the players involved at the set-piece.
Fleck said: “The Cheetahs are a smart side. They’ll come with some clever tactics whether it’s in the line-outs or the scrums or in open play. They’ll come up with something.”
Stormers team: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Cobus Wiese, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel
Cheetahs team: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Nico Lee, 23 Luther Obi