Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee
says he opted for Michael Rhodes ahead of Nizaam Carr in his starting line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein because he needs a big bruising blindside flank with the ability to run over players.
Carr has been on the bench as loose forward back-up for most of the season. And with Rynhardt Elstadt sustaining a shoulder injury in the loss against the Crusaders at Newlands last week, it was expected that the talented youngster - who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday - would get his big break against the Free Staters this weekend.
However, the Stormers coach defended his selection by saying: “If you take Nizaam Carr and you put him into the role of a big bruising blindside flanker, you take his natural ability to link and to run off players away. That is the reason why I did not select him. I’m not just here to select okes, but also have to make sure that they play to their strengths as well.”
The Stormers boss says he regards Carr as a specialist back-up number eight for Duane Vermeulen
, but he can also be used as a number six and as an opensider when required.
“His strength is definitely not that of a big bruising blindside flanker that will run over players. He is the type of player that will rather run off the flyhalf and link with the backs.
“It’s something that we’ve have been working on for some time. Initially I knew we don’t have enough specialist number sixes and we’ve tried that option as well. But he (Carr) is playing behind a Springbok (in Duane Vermeulen
“We have Michael Rhodes, Rynhardt Elstadt who are your big seven flankers and don’t forget that Siya (Kolisi) is a natural seven flank as well. So that’s where he (Carr) fits in.”
Coetzee believes Rhodes's comeback from a hamstring injury has come just at the right time for the Stormers who have won only two of their five matches this season. Rhodes will be making his debut for the Cape franchise since moving from the Lions in the off-season.
“The players know that they have to earn their positions here at the Stormers. It’s not a matter of whenever you ready, you just walk into the team. Michael’s trained well and he has slotted in well with the squad. It’s just a bonus that we now have another lineout option.
“It’s also good timing in the sense that he has had a full run in terms of his conditioning and getting him fit after the hamstring injury. He has also had a run at Vodacom Cup level. Normally your number seven is your big ball carrier from scrums and hopefully he has got the confidence. He had a great Currie Cup last season and it’s a great opportunity for him,” added Coetzee.
Kick-off at the Free State Stadium is at 17:05 on Saturday.Teams:Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johan Sadie, 2 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Phillip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss
(captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuisen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius
, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Ryno BenjaminStormers:
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Joe Pietersen
, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Gio Aplon, 10. Elton Jantjies
9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi
, 5. Andries Bekker
, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Gary van Aswegen, 22. Damian de Allende