Can the Stormers give the British Lions a headache on Saturday night?
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CAPE TOWN – Earlier this week, Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman said it’s a huge honour for them to be the last team the British & Irish Lions face before their three-Test Series kicks off against the Springboks in Cape Town on July 24.
It will be a great opportunity for the Stormers to not only test themselves, but also cleanse their palate of that unpleasant taste of their 30-28 defeat to Griquas in their last Currie Cup match at home. And then there’s the fact that it’s a special moment for the players, coaches, and all involved. After all, you don’t get to play the Tourists every year…
For the Lions, it will be all about getting themselves ready for the challenge ahead, and knowing how the SA ‘A’ side went in their 17-13 victory over the Lions with just one Test in almost two years under the belt, it’s going to be a big challenge.
So, there’s much to look forward to.
Here are four players who who can have a big say in what happens at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
Edwill van der Merwe
He was the leading try-scorer across both hemispheres in the Rainbow Cup, and that should say enough about what a threat he is. With consistent game time, he quickly shot up and became the best-performing outside back on the domestic scene. And with all the quality we have in South Africa in that department, it should say something.
This guy’s form has just been insane.
Be it at the breakdown, sniffing out top running lines, brutal physicality, popping into space or just casually bulldozing his way over the try line with a defender on his back, Roos knows how to make an impact.
He has no doubt been one of the form players for Western Province, and the only thing more impressive than his rampaging performances is the consistency with which he’s managed to produce them.
He has all the attributes that make a good No 8, and there can be no disputing that he’s one for the future.
His try-scoring record should speak for itself. Adams, who has scored eight tries in three games so far this tour, is just one of the Lions’ dangerous wingers, and there are a good few of them.
Apart from his obvious pace, he has this thing where it almost seems he can predict the future, that’s how well he reads a game, that’s how well can sniff out a try-scoring opportunity and make sure he’s there.
If there’s one man that can create all sorts of problems for the Stormers on Saturday night, it’s him.
Alun Wyn Jones
His recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, and while he will feature off the bench in Cape Town, how he goes in his first game back since dislocating his shoulder is going to be a big focus for Warren Gatland.
With a player like Wyn Jones, it’s not even just about his abilities as a player, but also the presence, experience and guidance he brings to the group.
Stormers: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Rikus Pretorius, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Thomas Bursey, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Juan de Jongh, 24 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 25 Niel Otto, 26 Leolin Zas, 27 Cornel Smit.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Josh Adams, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Adam Beard, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Jack Conan
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit.