Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck wants to see his team take another step up in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday (19:15 kick-off).
With five wins from their six games this season, the Stormers have built up some good winning momentum, and Fleck knows that this weekend is an opportunity to build on what has been an encouraging start to the campaign.
“In terms of the confidence of the team we want to confirm that the direction we are going in is right and obviously for the campaign - they are not in our group, but it is a local South African side who are leading the way so we need to challenge ourselves and put up a good performance,"Fleck told the Stormers' official website.
“With the players and the management we identified that there are certain areas we can improve on, but there is no need to panic.
“Every game is tough in this competition and it is neck-and-neck on every log, so every game is important.
“We are at a stage now where we are coming up against a good side away from home and we need to perform well,” he said.
The Stormers coach made two rotational switches to his forward pack for the trip up to Johannesburg, with JC Janse van Rensburg and Nizaam Carr coming into the starting line-up after featuring off the replacement bench in the 46-19 win against the Sunwolves at Newlands last weekend.
Fleck explained that both changes are part of a rotational plan.
“It is part of the rotation system, Nizaam Carr played very well against the Brumbies at six and he goes back into that position which gives Sikhumbuzo Notshe a run at No 7.
“The front rows have been fixed together for most of the campaign and we have felt that it was time for a bit of a mix up to give Oli Kebble a go with Frans Malherbe and give JC Janse van Rensburg a chance with Vince Koch.
“Both Vince and Oli are similar style players, whereas you get a bit of a harder edge with Frans and JC so we would like to mix those personalities up and see how they go,” he said.
With players such as Frans Malherbe, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende on the bench, the Stormers replacements are set to make a major impact when they come on at Ellis Park.
“The Lions are an 80 minute side, you could clearly see against the Crusaders they will fight to the end so obviously a strong bench is important and every single player there has got a role to play,” Fleck added.
15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Andries Coetzee
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Damian de Allende, 23 Huw Jones