'Massive Saturday' at Newlands
Cape Town - Stormers forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot predicts a massive Saturday night for his charges against the Sharks at Newlands.
The Stormers started their campaign with a 39-26 win over the Hurricanes at home, while the Sharks came off second best against a determined Bulls team in Pretoria, losing 18-13.
However, despite them being outplayed and outwitted against the Bulls, Proudfoot believes the Sharks showed enough to give any opposing coaches sleepless nights.
"The Bulls played a clever game against the Sharks. They made sure they (the Sharks) couldn't build up phase movements.
"They managed it for about an hour to 65 minutes and only in the last quarter did it become visible just how uncomfortable the Sharks can make your life," Proudfoot told Die Burger.
Meanwhile, the Stormers will be impressed with the performance of several of their young players. Props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, lock Eben Etzebeth and flank Siya Kolisi all had storming games against the Hurricanes.
And Proudfoot is understandably happy with the way the youngsters at the union are developing.
"They understand the finer nuances of the game and aren't afraid to climb in physically. Add to that young talents like Nizaam Carr (flank), Quinn Roux (lock) and Scarra Ntubeni (hooker).
"That gives you seven forwards that can still play Under-21 rugby. You can think how happy that makes a coach. So much young talent."
The loss of flank Schalk Burger
is a big blow to the Stormers as it leaves them without a real specialist fetcher but Proudfoot said that responsibility does not only lie with the openside flank.
"Look, even though it might not be that big a necessity during this part of the season, you've got to have players that can compete for the ball.
"But it doesn't necessarily have to be an openside flank. Flo (Francois Louw) did it well last year from the blindside position, with Schalk (Burger) and Duane's (Vermeulen) tackling giving him the opportunity," said Proudfoot.
When asked whether they might try replicate what the Bulls did, Proudfoot responded with: "Who knows? We also have a couple of surprises..."