Stormers returnees can add proper punch in bid to boost Rainbow Cup SA standing
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CAPE TOWN - The Stormers couldn't have been boosted at a better time.
With three games left and only one W on their books so far, they absolutely have to win their Rainbow Cup SA match against the Sharks on Saturday (1pm kickoff) if they want a chance at replacing the Bulls at the top of the standings.
Last weekend, the Stormers pulled off a reverse of what had become a pattern for them, when they snatched a late victory from the Lions. And this weekend – while I'm sure they won't be hoping to leave it that late again – they will want to return from Durban with another positive result. And it's a mission the returnees can certainly help make a successful one.
Locks JD Schickerling and Marvin Orie are back in the starting line-up after recovering from an ankle injury and concussion respectively, and given the quality of the second-row duo, their presence can add a lot of punch to the tight five. In the loose trio, blindside flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is also back in the run-on side alongside Willie Engelbrecht and Evan Roos after being rested against the Lions last week. If Du Toit picks up where he left off – with two brilliant performances in their first two Rainbow Cup games after spending more than a year on the sidelines – the Stormers are guaranteed to tick more boxes where the physical exchanges and work rate are concerned.
While Dan du Plessis and Rikus Pretorius had one of their better runs against the Lions and created some good opportunities, Ruhan Nel comes in as the only change to the backline after spending the last two weeks with the Blitzboks.
Nel was superb for the Stormers before his departure, jazzing up their attack and injecting real impact into the backline. This week he is back in the starting XV in the place of Dan du Plessis.
Stormers head coach John Dobson said there has been an emphasis on executing the game plan as accurately as possible this week.
“We want to make the best use of the opportunities that we create, which means that we must be focused and as accurate as possible in everything that we do,” Dobson said.
“All of the players coming in this week have played a role in this campaign already and we are looking forward to a cohesive team performance.”
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17
Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Adre Smith, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Marcel Theunissen, 25 Dan du Plessis