Siya: Stormers can’t blow hot and cold
CAPE TOWN – Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi said it himself - they “can’t blow hot and cold from week to week”.
The Stormers will go into their round 15 Super Rugby clash against the Highlanders tomorrow, looking to emulate the quality of performance they produced in their 19-all draw against the Crusaders last week.
Consistency will be key from here on in if the Stormers want to crack a playoff spot as the business end of the 2019 edition approaches.
And it’s consistency that Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has opted for in terms of his selections.
Fleck has made just one injury-enforced change, with Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi ruled out due to injury. Mbonambi left the field after sustaining a quad injury during the first half of last week’s match, with Scarra Ntubeni replacing him.
Ntubeni will wear the No 2 jersey, with Chad Solomon set to make his Stormers debut off the bench.
The only other change is among the replacements, with fit-again Wilco Louw back in the matchday squad.
After sustaining a calf injury against the Crusaders, centre Damian de Allende has been cleared to play, although he didn’t train until yesterday.
Fleck confirmed he completed a tough 60-minute session and was good to go against the Highlanders.
While the Stormers are at the bottom of the South African conference, they are just six points behind conference leaders, the Bulls and Jaguares.
With four matches left before the playoffs, Kolisi said every game is a must-win from here on in.
“Every game is more important than the last but we don’t feel extra pressure,” Kolisi said. “We need to get four points from every game and if we can earn some bonus points along the way that will be better.
“The only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves.
“After last week’s performance we challenged ourselves to reproduce that quality consistently. We can’t blow hot and cold from week to week.”
Fleck echoed Kolisi’s views regarding the way forward.
“It’s nice to have consistency in selection at this stage of the season” Fleck said. “It’s also good reward for the way the guys played last week.
“There was some thought given to starting Wilco but the way Frans Malherbe played last week made it more important to keep the same starting side. “It’s also rough on Neethling Fouche but he is certainly in all our selection conversations now.”
The Stormers team is:
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (50th DHL Stormers cap), 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel@WynonaLouw