Stormers excited about ‘special’ Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

SACHA Feinberg-Mngomezulu is at home almost everywhere in the Stormers backline. Photo: BackpagePix

SACHA Feinberg-Mngomezulu is at home almost everywhere in the Stormers backline. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 1, 2024


WINNING momentum for the play-offs – that is what the Stormers want to achieve this afternoon when they take on the Lions in their final URC round-robin clash at Cape Town Stadium (1.45pm kick-off).

After securing their knockout berth a couple of weeks ago, the 2022 champions know they will travel away for the play-off clash, and any positive impetus will set them well on their way as they build up to next weekend.

But a loss at home today could undo all the hard work of the last couple of weeks, especially overseas, and they’ll possibly have a more difficult quarter-final if they finish lower than fifth on the URC log.

Two of their key playmakers in the backline, Damian Willemse and Warrick Gelant, are missing for the derby due to injury, although their replacements, Wandisile Simelane and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, should be ready to make the step up.

Interestingly, but not a bad call at all, the Stormers coaches decided to go with Feinberg-Mngomezulu at fullback rather than in the inside centre position he has starred in this season.

Of course, the former Junior Springbok captain is at home almost everywhere in the backline, and his skilful touches are similar to that of Gelant and Willemse.

So, coach John Dobson’s team will have some magic from the back, while Feinberg-Mngomezulu’s kicking boot will also be crucial.

He scored two tries in the first game of the season against the Lions at Ellis Park, and will be looking to replicate that special performance today.

“The last two games he (Feinberg-Mngomezulu) came on at 15, it is an area we prepped him in,” Stormers backline coach Dawie Snyman said at the team announcement yesterday.

“We are quite excited about him there. Our 10s and 15s are quite similar in how we play.

“He is a special player, and we are trying to build our depth at the back ahead of the play-offs. We want to test him to see how he goes.”

On the game itself, the Stormers will not go out of character to bag the win.

They know the Lions can be equally dangerous in loose play, and it will be crucial for the home side to limit the visitors’ opportunities on attack.

Loose passes in their quest to open up the game hampered the Stormers in a couple of games before, and they’ve taken ownership of that – and the players will want to avoid the same mistakes.

Flank Ben-Jason Dixon will notch up 50 caps and join a few of his teammates who achieved that feat during the season.

There is no change in the loose trio or locks that did duty against Connacht, but a new front row in hooker André-Hugo Venter and props Neethling Fouché and Sti Sithole will have to anchor the scrum against tough opponents.

“We want to put up a good defensive performance,” Snyman added.

“We will play the situation moment by moment. It is difficult to determine the result of the game.

“If it’s a restart, we want to play it well – or a line-out, or stopping a maul, or scrumming. That is how we focus on the game. The result is going to be determined by how well we do those things.”

Stormers Team: 15 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg 13 Wandisile Simelane 12 Dan du Plessis 11 Angelo Davids 10 Manie Libbok 9 Herschel Jantjies 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Ben-Jason Dixon 6 Evan Roos 5 Ruben van Heerden 4 Salmaan Moerat (capt) 3 Neethling Fouché 2 André-Hugo Venter 1 Sti Sithole

Bench: 16 Joseph Dweba 17 Brok Harris 18 Frans Malherbe 19 Adré Smith 20 Marcel Theunissen 21 Stefan Ungerer 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis 23 Ben Loader