CAPE TOWN - Stormers forwards coach Russell Winter says the Bulls will pose the perfect challenge for a Stormers side eager to get their quarter-final preparations right.
The Stormers will travel to Loftus for the last group-stage game on Saturday before they host either the Hurricanes or the Chiefs at Newlands the following week.
And although it has been a rough season (to say the least) for Nollis Marais and his team, Winter said that they were still expecting their old rivals to “bring it”, especially up front.
“We know the Bulls are going to be a proper challenge for us and that’s the way we want it. It’s going to be their last game at Loftus and a typical derby. We expect nothing less than an absolute dogfight. And that’s what we want,” Winter said.
“We want to prep ourselves and put everything together that we need to for our quarter-final. There is no one better than the Bulls to play ... when they’re on, thy can beat anybody. So we’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s one that is going to be properly fought up front.”
But the Bulls’ forwards weren’t the only unit that Winter refused to underestimate. He also made a special mention of their backs, and he added that the Stormers weren’t planning on drifting from the attacking style they’ve been making good strides in this season. Winter also alluded that they would want to keep their “outstanding” backline in the game, and it’s not that hard to understand why.
The Stormers back three were devastating on the counter-attack against the Sunwolves and scored, and created, a number of tries from turnover ball in broken play, with fullback Dillyn Leyds (two tries), wings Cheslin Kolbe (hat-trick) and Seabelo Senatla (one try) all adding their name to the Stormers’ 50-point scoresheet.
“The Bulls are going to properly bring it. When they’re on they’re easily one of the best packs in the competition, and I think they’ve got an outstanding backline. But so do we. So we don’t want to go away from that. We don’t want to change anything we’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks, we’re going to stay the same and hopefully just improve on what we’ve been doing.”
“We’re going to have to make sure that we keep the ball better and create tries from the set-piece, instead of creating it from turnovers or the opposition’s mistakes.”
C entre Juan de Jongh (sustained a concussion against the Cheetahs) and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe (picked up a knee injury in Bloemfontein) will be available for selection for this weekend’s clash.
However, Scottish international Huw Jones (hamstring), scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage (calf), fullback SP Marais (knee), centre Shaun Treeby (ribs), loose forward Kobus van Dyk (knee) and props Oli Kebble (groin) and Ali Vermaak (calf) have been ruled out of the Pretoria fixture. They are, however, all expected to be available for the quarter-final.