Robbie Fleck: Time for change
The Stormers bagged an 87-5 victory at Boland Stadium in their third and final pre-season game after also securing wins in their first two warm-up matches against False Bay RFC and a Combined Club XV (they played two chukkas against each team) and against the Bulls in a Marvel-themed spectacle at Cape Town Stadium last week.
Following the game against their rivals from Boland, Fleck said he had a fairly good idea of the team he wants to put out at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday when they kick off their Super Rugby campaign.
But the most recent on-field productions could see some of the names that were pencilled in changed.
Midfield was one of the areas Fleck was confident about following the Boland game (Damian de Allende and Ruhan Nel started at 12 and 13 respectively), and while Nel produced a solid outing on Friday evening, Dan du Plessis wreaked havoc when he came on later in the game as he created opportunities for his outside backs and challenged Boland’s defence with his running lines.
At scrumhalf, Herschel Jantjies showed just how dangerous he can be when it comes to front foot ball, while Fleck was also impressed with the depth at tighthead prop.
“One or two players did really well, which forces us to rethink things,” Fleck said after the game.
“The competition in the group is healthy and there’s a good vibe. It was good to see the depth we have.”
While this was the Stormers’ third friendly, it was the first real run-out for the majority of their Springbok players.
“The main thing tonight was to give our guys a hit-out and just get back into rugby.
“We scored some good tries and I felt that the guys stuck to the plan. It was a good defensive performance and there were some nice things on attack for the second week in a row.”
During the game, the likes of Bok props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe left the field, while No8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Cobus Wiese also made way for replacements.
None of those are serious injury concerns, though.
“Kitshoff may have tweaked a hammy, but Frans Malherbe and Notshe aren’t concerns, they just took knocks to the knees. Cobus Wiese took a knock to the head, so considering the neck injury he had it was just precautionary stuff (taking him off),” the coach said.@WynonaLouw