Vodacom Super Rugby
Coetzee spoilt for choice
Cape Town – The availability of Gio Aplon and Jaque Fourie could give Stormers coach Allister Coetzee some food for thought ahead of Friday night’s Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Newlands.
A big test awaits the Stormers. They struggled to beat the Lions and Cheetahs, and a match against a New Zealand outfit that just beat the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld will offer a decent perspective on how good the Cape side really is.
There was little constructive play between the Stormers and Cheetahs in the Cape’s sweltering heat on Saturday. Numerous mistakes were made on both sides and the Stormers are yet to properly utilise their backline on attack this season.
Coetzee may well have the option of having Aplon and Fourie available this week.
“Gio and Jaque should be ready. JC Kritzinger and Wicus Blaauw (both props) have each played in two Vodacom Cup games and can also come into the reckoning,” said Coetzee.
“We just have to improve on our performance. The players that are returning offer us the chance to tweak and get things right. It’s also going to be nice to play against an overseas side.”
Indeed. The South African teams know one another inside out and the fear about derby overkill is that it can result in the kind of boring arm-wrestle that was seen at Newlands on Saturday. Not to mention how it will affect future interest in the Currie Cup.
Coetzee now has to decide how he will improve the Stormers’ attack.
Aplon made the right wing berth his own last year, but Danie Poolman has not put a foot wrong and impressed with his limited opportunities against the Cheetahs.
Coetzee can therefore consider picking Aplon in place of Conrad Jantjes at fullback, thereby giving the Stormers more of a counter-attacking edge.
If it is confirmed on Monday that Fourie has recovered from a chest injury, Coetzee will have to again confront the old problem of what to do with the three Springbok centres at his disposal.
Fourie has played very little rugby over the last few months and can be considered for the bench. The alternative is to pick him in place of Juan de Jongh.