Damian Willemse of the Stormers celebrates a try during the 2021 Rainbow Cup SA game between the Stormers and the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on 1 May 2021 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Damian Willemse of the Stormers celebrates a try during the 2021 Rainbow Cup SA game between the Stormers and the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on 1 May 2021 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Three things Stormers will want to repeat against the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup

By Wynona Louw Time of article published May 7, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The Stormers' game against the Sharks didn't go the way they would have wanted it to, but that's done now and all they can do is move on the next challenge - the Bulls.

John Dobson's men will host their Jake White's unit at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow, and while it's always a big one, this one probably has even more spice given what went down at Loftus during the Preparation Series in a game the Stormers could have won.

ALSO READ: Seabelo Senatla handed four-week ban, Willie Engelbrecht escapes further sanction

But that was two months ago so, focusing on their more recent form, here are three things from their 33-30 defeat by the Sharks the Stormers will want to repeat against White's men this weekend.

1 Midfield magic

Against the Sharks, the Stormers midfield fired, something that couldn't always be said last year.

Ruhan Nel, who will be released to the Blitzboks to report for Olympic preparations, combined superbly with centre partner Rikus Pretorius at the weekend, and while there will be a different centre pairing against the Bulls, there can be no doubt that the Stormers backline will be looking for the same kind of potency to get their outside backs going against their old foes.

ALSO READ: The good and the bad after the Stormers’ Rainbow Cup opener against the Sharks

Dobson could very well go with Dan du Plessis and Pretorius – a combination he used last year. Cornel Smit is another option, though, and he's a player Dobson spoke highly of when reflecting on his run during the Prep Series.

Whichever combination Dobson goes with, one thing's for sure, he'll be looking for the same kind of impact at Cape Town Stadium.

2 Scrum supremacy

The Springbok front-rowers were on point against the Sharks with Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, and replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi putting in laudable shifts.

ALSO READ: Yellow and red cards took the ’energy’ out of the Stormers’ effort against the Sharks

The set-piece strong Stormers will always want to dominate in those areas, but against the Bulls, even though they may not be as Bok-blessed in the tight five as the Stormers at the moment, even more so.

3 Fullback finesse

How good was Damian Willemse against the Sharks?

The Springbok back is settling well at the back and again produced some good moments last weekend, and it's certainly an individual shift the Stormers will be looking to replicate.

He looked right at home under the high ball, put in some solid kicks from hand, and then there was that top try in the last 10 minutes.

Please hit repeat.

Meanwhile, the Stormers will be without Seabelo Senatla this weekend after the speedster was handed a four-week suspension for the red card he received against the Sharks.

Senatla was red-carded in the 14th minute for a reckless aerial tackle on Aphelele Fassis, which saw the Sharks fullback land on his neck.

In the hearing, Senatla admitted that the red card was justified, and the abbreviated process was followed, concluding in his suspension up to and including Friday, 4 June.

Stormers No 8 Willie Engelbrecht won't be spending any time on the sidelines following his sending off – following his two yellows and the subsequent red card - in the same match.

However, judicial officer Adv Rob Stelzner (SC) found that the second yellow card was unwarranted.

It has been expunged from Engelbrecht's record, which means that the red card is also to be erased from his record.

@WynonaLouw

IOL Sport

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