CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says he’s expecting a “typical South African derby” against the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday (5.15pm).
The Stormers coach made a special mention of the Sharks’ physical forward pack, while he was confident in his forwards’ ability, and made no changes to his pack that faced the Blues last weekend.
The only change is lock Chris van Zyl’s inclusion in Saturday’s roster on the bench, with Jan de Klerk out with injury, while it will be a special day for Bok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will play in his 50th game for the Stormers.
Fleck also added that their 30-22 win over the Blues at Newlands had been a good confidence boost.
“(The Sharks) carry well and their maul is pretty strong. They’re also trying to play more rugby, you can see that. But they’ve always had a good kicking game and they’ve always had a good defensive game,” Fleck said.
“That’s the way they play, they like to take the ball up with their forwards. And they’re a really combative side. If you’re not at your best physically they’ll look to dominate you. It’s a typical South African derby. But we’re upbeat...”
Meanwhile, Fleck was pleased to have two top organisers in Kurt Coleman and Dillyn Leyds in his backline.
Coleman is fit after sustaining an ankle injury during training in New Zealand, and when Robert du Preez was also sidelined with injury against the Hurricanes, Leyds stepped in at No 10, while he also featured there in the second half against the Highlanders the previous week.
Although Leyds produced a decent performance against the Blues, the return of a natural flyhalf in Coleman will do the Stormers good in Durban.
And Fleck added that Leyds’ organisational skills would be an asset for his team’s backline this weekend.
“We felt we wanted Kurt to come back in from an organisational point of view. There are various threats that the Sharks pose, they’ve got a really strong kicking game and with Dillyn at the back he’s one of our main organisers. He (Coleman) was an obvious choice for us,” Fleck said.
Fleck also praised the impact Coleman had made off the bench this season before injury struck.
“He played against the Brumbies and unfortunately got injured. He’s a general, he likes to control the game, and he’s got a good, solid kicking game. His communication skills are excellent. Every time he has come on for us this year he’s made an impact. Against the Sunwolves he did very well off the bench, and he added that great attacking kick towards the end.
“The way that Dillyn covered flyhalf on tour has given us a lot of belief and confidence in him (as No 10 back-up),” he said.
The Stormers will also welcome Springbok centre Damian de Allende back at No 12 in the place of the suspended Shaun Treeby. Jano Vermaak is back in the Stormers’ starting line-up, while Seabelo Senatla will provide cover on the bench as Leyds moves back to left wing.
CentreJuan de Jongh will make his return off the bench. “It’s good to have him back in the side, he brings a lot of energy and a lot of leadership. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes on the weekend.”