Salmaan Moerat, JD Schickerling can be Stormers’ Bakkies and Victor
CAPE TOWN - Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani says their lineout is one of the areas they really want to get right in their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium on Friday (7pm kickoff).
The Stormers secured a 23-17 comeback win against the Lions at Newlands in their opener and also had to hold on in the last few minutes as the Lions were on the attack and made their way into the hosts’ 22 as the minutes ran down on Saturday.
It was far from a perfect performance by the Stormers and there are a number of areas they will want to address before they face the Pumas away - a tricky team to play at home who will be even tougher seeing as they are coming off a morale-boosting victory over Griquas.
While Hlungwani admitted that the Stormers’ drawing board is going to be quite full this week after their performance in their first competitive game since rugby restarted in South Africa, he is seeing their next encounter as an opportunity to turn their crosses into ticks.
“It’s always tricky, especially at the start of the season, it was our second game in six months,” Hlungwani said. “We were a little bit rusty, but it’s a good opportunity for us to go out there on Friday and perhaps prove ourselves on a few things that we didn’t get right.
“The lineout is definitely one of those areas where we can do better, we set very high standards for ourselves, so it’s definitely something we would really like to improve on. We may not be top-notch by Friday, but we want to see improvement, it’s a long competition and we just want to see improvement every weekend.”
While their lineout, as a whole, wasn’t at its best at the weekend, some individuals of the unit put in big performances. Hard-working lock Salmaan Moerat was one of those guys, and Hlungwani went on to explain just why he thinks the duo of Moerat and JD Schickerling are well on their way to becoming a major force in SA rugby.
“Salmaan and JD are a very good combination,” he said.
“They come in the mould of a Bakkies (Botha) and Victor Matfield-type of lock pairing.
“I think they’ll terrorise teams for years to come and they combine really well. Salmaan focuses hard on the physicality side of things and JD is a sharp lineout-organiser. So, we are very fortunate to have those two boys combining so well.
“Behind them we have David Meihuizen who’s very promising, he’s coming through now, and he’s going to challenge JD for that No 5 position. Chris van Zyl comes with good experience, so we’re in a very fortunate position having those four locks.”
Hlungwani confirmed that wing Sergeal Petersen - who left the field with a leg injury - wouldn’t be available for the Nelspruit encounter, while he wasn’t yet sure about Pieter-Steph du Toit’s progress. “Seabelo Senatla is recovering well, but won’t be ready this weekend,” Hlungwani said.