Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has called on his players to keep up their intensity as they prepare to face the Force in their final Super Rugby tour match in Perth on Saturday.
The Stormers started their Australasian tour with two losses (Highlanders and Hurricanes), but rebounded well with a 32-18 win over the defending champions Waratahs last weekend.
A win over the Force in their final match on Saturday would make a tour a success, but the Stormers coach has warned his charges to not get caught with the ‘one foot on the plane’ mentality.
“It’s important that we take momentum from the Waratahs match into this weekend as we look to end our tour on a high,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website.
“We have a positive feeling in our camp. In Super Rugby you always need to pitch up, otherwise your opposition will knock you off your perch. We need to ensure that we show intensity and urgency against the Force, and really be up for it, before we can even think about returning to South Africa.”
Coetzee on Thursday made four personnel changes to the Stormers starting XV for the duel with the Force.
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi, lock Ruan Botha, flank Siya Kolisi and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder will all start this week, with prop Alistair Vermaak and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe the new faces on the bench.
Notshe joins the match-day 23 this week as a replacement for Kolisi, who will start at No 6 - with Schalk Burger moving across to No 7 - in the absence of Michael Rhodes, who flew home with a hamstring tear suffered against the Waratahs last weekend.
The only other injury-enforced change from the Waratahs game - won 32-18 by the Stormers - is Botha, who comes in for Manuel Carizza in the No 5 jersey, with the latter still battling with a cut on the inside of his mouth.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni and scrumhalf Nic Groom will provide an impact from the bench this week as the Stormers chase a second successive win on tour (after their bonus point triumph in Sydney), before they return to South Africa for five home matches in seven weeks.
“I would’ve loved to have given more opportunities to more players, but we didn’t want to make too many changes,” continued Coetzee.
The Stormers and the Force have met on four previous occasions in Perth, with the men from the Cape tasting victory three times and losing by one point in 2010. Overall, these two sides have played against each other in eight Super Rugby matches, with the Stormers winning six times and losing twice.
Kick-off for Saturday’s clash at nib Stadium is scheduled for 13:45 (SA time).
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 ALby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Marcel Brache
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demtri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones