CAPE TOWN – Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says a “pretty mobile pack” is important going into their match against the Waratahs in Sydney tomorrow (kick-off 10.45 am SA time).
For their second Super Rugby game of the 2018 season and their first of their three-match tour to Australasia, Fleck has named Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit - who missed the Super Rugby opener against the Jaguares last week - at No 5, with JD Schickerling at No 4 lock, while Schickerling’s second-row partner of last week, Chris van Zyl, drops to the bench.
In the loose trio, Kobus van Dyk replaces Cobus Wiese at blindside flank, with Sikhumbuzo Notshe, fresh from Sevens duty with the Blitzboks, will “make an impact from the bench”.
Fleck said the Waratahs’ kicking game makes quick movement around the park crucial.
“It (speed in the pack) did play a role. We think it’s going to be a pretty open game, there’s some fresh faces in the Waratahs team and they like to keep ball in hand and they’ve got a good attacking kicking game,” Fleck said during a teleconference call from Sydney yesterday.
“They’ll look to put us under pressure with their contestable kicks and kicks in-behind, so our pack needs to be pretty mobile. We need to have some fresh legs and speed across the park throughout the 80 minutes. So it definitely plays a role.”
“Up front we’re rotating Cobus Wiese and Kobus van Dyk and bringing Notshe in to make an impact from the bench. Cobus Wiese had a good game last week, there’s a few things he needs to work on, but we’re pretty excited for his part, and there’s still another two tour games to go.”
It seems to be a combination of speed up front and bulk at the back for the match against the ’Tahs that Fleck’s going for, as JJ Engelbrecht will start at outside centre in the place of EW Viljoen, while SP Marais is back at fullback (after returning from a toe injury) in the place of Dillyn Leyds, who moves to the right wing.
Seabelo Senatla, who was responsible for superb attacking moments against the Jaguares last weekend, drops out of the matchday squad completely.
Seeing that the Stormers play the Crusaders and the Highlanders after their meeting with the Aussies, it becomes vital they stock up on log points and confidence this weekend.
“We haven’t said we’re going to target this game or that game, it’s about us accumulating as many points as we can on tour. Last year we came back with nothing but lessons learnt.”
There were certainly a number of things the Stormers had to improve on since their tense 28-20 win over the Jaguares. Their lineouts and handling were two of the things that put the Stormers in a few pressure situations and ruined some scoring opportunities.
“They didn’t have a good season last year, but they will certainly be better than last year. They like to keep ball in hand and they’ve got attacking threats all around the park, so we’re going to have to be sharp.”
“We believe with what we’ve got at our disposal and the way we want to play we’ve got enough to challenge them and beat them at home. So it’s an exciting week for us.”