CAPE TOWN – Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says they’re drawing motivation from the fact that they can still turn their Super Rugby season around as they head into their Round 10 clash against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday (kick-off 5.15 pm).
The Stormers - fresh off a bye - will be looking to get a win away after losing all five of their away matches this season. In total, they’ve won just three of their eight fixtures.
Fleck’s team will return home following the coastal derby and enjoy three games at home, before they travel to Hong Kong to face the Sunwolves. But as they zoom in on the Sharks, Fleck believes it would make a “good story” if they return to Cape Town with a win after a tough start to the competition.
“We’ve still got eight games, it’s the halfway mark. We’re not where we want to be, but we can still turn things around. That’s our motivation. We acknowledge where we’re sitting, but the exciting thing is that there’s still eight games and it’s by no means done. It will be a good story if we can turn it around this week. We’re going to fight hard every week to keep climbing that ladder,” he said.
“For us there’s a story there, and that’s what we’ll keep chasing.”
“We need to win away from home, so it’s important for us to get off to a good start this weekend. We need to start strong and then we’ll implement the game we want to play.”
And while the Stormers will have one unquestionable goal this weekend - to secure a win - the Sharks will undoubtedly share that goa * after their 40-10 thrashing by the Bulls at Kings Park last weekend.
And during the team announcement at Newlands yesterday, Fleck explained that another “flat” Sharks outfit is not what he’s expecting.
“I don’t think you’ll see the Sharks like they were against the Bulls again, they looked a bit flat,” he said.
“They certainly will look to front up this weekend. They’re pretty much in a similar position as us, they know it’s a massively important game for us. Their backs are against the wall, they’re in the same boat as us. And they certainly won’t be as subdued as they were against the Bulls. “
The Stormers coach has made a number of changes for the cruncher.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe will make his first start of the 2018 Super Rugby season, and replaces Nizaam Carr, who moves to the bench, at No 8. Notshe will feature in the back row alongside skipper Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
On Notshe’s selection, Fleck said: “Neemo has pretty much started every game, Notsh hasn’t had a start yet this season. So now he gets one in his favourite position, so let’s see how he goes.”
There are two changes to the backline, and one of those changes will see Dillyn Leyds starting at fullback in the place of SP Marais, who moves to the bench. Leyds’ shift to 15 sees Craig Barry come in on the right wing, with JJ Engelbrecht returning from injury on the bench.
At scrumhalf, fit-again Dewaldt Duvenage replaces the injured Jano Vermaak in the run-on side to form the halfback pairing with flyhalf Damian Willemse, while Paul de Wet, who also featured off the bench against the Lions, will add to his 2018 appearance-tally if he comes on against the Sharks.
“I think that Dillyn brings something different for us for this weekend. I think in terms of him being on the wing he’s probably been out of the game a little bit and we need him to be more in the game and to get his hands on the ball. I guess in the position of 15 he’ll be able to do that, which helps us in how we want to play.”
The Stormers team is:
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 SP Marais, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.