Johannesburg — Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids cut a diplomatic figure earlier this week, remaining coy regarding who he will be rooting for in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final between the Stormers and Bulls this weekend, but there was one opinion that he was emphatic about: The game will be won or lost by the team that adapts the quickest.
Inclement weather is expected to sweep across Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm), and it could have a major impact on the outcome of the encounter.
“The weather is going to play a very important role,” said Davids, at the Springboks’ Youth Day initiative in Mamelodi on Wednesday.
“If you play in a playoff or you play in Test rugby, the quality of the possession becomes very important; territory, where you play, becomes very important; using your opportunities becomes very important. Adapting to all of those variables going into that game, that is going to be important.”
While non-committal about the outcome of the match, Davids did reiterate the sentiment shared by Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber earlier this week that the national team setup is thrilled regarding the fact that the URC final will be an all-South African affair.
Said Davids: “We are very proud that we have two teams in the final in the first year of this competition, especially in the way that they have adapted.
“When you play in a competition like this for the first time, there is a lot of pressure. I take my hat off for the commitment and the way the guys – the coaching staff and players – have adapted and grown as a team throughout the competition.
“Going into this final, we just want to see two teams that leave everything on the field. It doesn’t matter which way it goes; we will be proud of both teams in terms of what they have achieved this year.”
Davids and Co, of course, have a vested interest in this weekend’s final. A bevy of players that will play on Saturday have already been selected for the 40-plus Bok squad that will begin preparation in earnest next week for a three Test match series in July.
That group of players that could possibly play in the final include: Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie, Evan Roos, Deon Fourie, Herchell Jantjies, Warrick Gelant and Damian Willemse all of the Stormers; and Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee, Elrigh Louw and Kurt-Lee Arendse of the Bulls.
Flyhalf Johan Goosen of the Bulls was also named in the Bok squad, but will not participate in Wales series as he continues to recuperate from injury.