CAPE TOWN - Stormers captain captain Siya Kolisi says they won’t hold back when they face the Sunwolves at Newlands today (kick-off 7.30 pm).
The fact the Japanese side were demolished 94-7 by a ruthless Lions outfit last weekend won’t keep the Stormers from giving their all at home, and Kolisi said their approach to their second-last group-stage game won’t differ to any other game.
“We’ve prepared for the Sunwolves as much as we would have for any other team. We’ve made plans for them, but obviously we plan on going forward,” Kolisi said.
“We’re gonna approach this game the same way we approach all our games. We’re not holding back for any games. Same with the next game. This is our strongest team and we’re obviously showing respect to them, but the main focus is on us.”
Although the Stormers have yet again been hit by a number of injuries in the last week, to Springbok centre Juan de Jongh, fullback SP Marais and loose forwards Kobus van Dyk and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, coach Robbie Fleck was confident his strongest team will run on at Newlands today.
And one new addition to the Fkeck’s starting team is World Rugby Under-20 Championship Player of the Tournament Juarno Augustus, who will run out at blindside flank this afternoon.
Augustus was unstoppable during the junior world tournament, and Kolisi, who will start at No 6 next to the 19-year-old Augustus, says he was looking forward to playing alongside the junior star.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Trokkie (Augustus). He worked really hard during the pre-season and then he went to the Under-20 tournament and he did exactly what we saw him do in the warm-up games,” Kolisi said.
In the build-up to the fixture, Fleck said that Augustus offered a lot, and of the things that he could perhaps offer was the ability to free his fellow loosies up.
But Kolisi said that, given what Augustus put on show with Chean Roux’s team and what he did against the Lions during the pre-season, he believes the youngster is the one that should be “freed up”.
“I’m very happy for him and I’m excited to see how he goes. I’ve been looking forward to seeing him play. I’m actually hoping we can free him up and not him free us up, so we can see him do what he does best,” Kolisi said.
“All the guys are keen for him. There’s no better place for him to get his chance than right here at Newlands.”
The Newlands faithful can also look forward to getting another glimpse of another exciting teenager in Damian Willemse at No 10, who aced his starting berth in Bloemfontein last week.
Then there is also Sevens superstar Seabelo Senatla, who will get a start on the left wing, after Dillyn Leyds moved to fullback in the place of the injured SP Marais.
The Sunwolves, on the other hand, have made nine changes to the side that got mauled by the Lions last week, and playmaker Yu Tamurawill have a lot to do with how the Sunwloves go today.
Fleck also said the way the Kiwis go about selecting their teams for the back-end of the competition, along with his experience working with Bok coach Allister Coetzee at the Stormers, has urged him to put out his best-possible side, regardless of the opposition.
“I learnt a lot with Allister. I was part of those decisions back in the day when we decided to send a different team to play the Sharks or whoever it was and then we had a different team running and preparing for a quarter-final. It never worked for us.”
“If you look at the New Zealand teams and how they go about their last round robin game before the quarter-finals, they play their best teams. And when they hit the quarter-finals, they’re at their peak.”
“I think we can learn a little bit from that and from Allister’s era.
“We need to make the right decision for this group and the right decision would be to allow them to build confidence at the back-end of the group stages.”
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Juarno Augustus, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 JD Schickerling, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Bjorn Basson.
Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Ryohei Yamanaka, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Teruya Goto, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz (c), 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Takeshi Hino, 1 Koki Yamamoto
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Koo Jiwon, 19 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Jumpei Ogura.
Referee: Quinton Immelman