CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach, Robbie Fleck, says they’ll be hunting their first Super Rugby away win this season when they take on the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday night (kick-off 7.40 pm).
The Stormers, who have managed to win only five of their 14 matches this year, have set themselves a tough task seeing that the Argentinians – who are eighth on the combined log - have been massive at home this season. While Fleck will make full use of his Springbok personnel for their second-last round-robin game, the Jaguares have also named a solid, virtually Test side for the encounter.
And while Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that he is well-aware of the challenge the Jaguares will pose at their lair, he made it clear that they’re aiming for the win. “The motivation for us is to really play well and to bring a lot of energy and fun to the game,” Fleck said on Thursday.
“I think we’ve got an opportunity to get our first away win against a team that’s done exceptionally well in the last six weeks…not considering the international break. It’s going to be a good challenge for us. They’re near full-strength, it’s always good to play against an international side. We want to do something different and end this competition on a high.”
As with any Jaguares side, there are a few individual threats, and returning skipper Pablo Matera is one of them. The loose forward will make his first appearance for the Jaguares since April at openside flank alongside Tomas Lezana and Javier Ortega Desio at No 7 and 8 respectively, while the likes of Nicolas Sanchez and Agustin Creevy are only two of the Argentinians’ other dangermen.
Back to the action 🔷 pic.twitter.com/wPXqifMK6P
Fleck and his Stormers will know that individually, the Jaguares can be dangerous, and the Stormers’ most recent taste of that was at Newlands in their Super Rugby-opener. And now that they’ve grown as a unit, they can be even more threatening. And it’s a test Fleck said he’s looking forward to.
“The one thing about them is that they certainly have improved this year. They’re working hard together and they’re playing for each other,” he said. “They’re a very different side to what they’ve been in previous years. They’ve always had quality players. They’re playing with a lot of energy and a lot of confidence, especially at home. They’ve proven to be a tough team to beat there. It’s a great test for us and we certainly are motivated to do well.”
One thing that stands out in Fleck’s team is the presence of some Springbok players who have racked up a lot of minutes this year. Skipper Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit are two of those inclusions, and when asked about it, Fleck said: “We want to finish strong and we want to select the best possible team.”
“We’ve got about 12 guys who are injured, we don’t have the luxury of resting players, especially if we want to put out our best team. We want to finish off on a high note, there won’t be any resting or rotating of players over the next two weeks. We want to finish strong. We certainly can manage their load during the week, but there won’t be much resting of players with other teams either because everyone’s vying for their positions and looking to qualify.”
Stormers team: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Kobus van Dyk, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 EW Viljoen.
Jaguares team: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta. Replacements: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonila, 23 Matias Moron.