Stormers will still target Durban win
Johannesburg - DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has reconciled himself to the probability that his team will be involved in a Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinal the following week and that means he will rest a large part of his starting side, but he still wants to target a win over the Sharks in Saturday’s final league match.
According to supersport.com, a clutch of Western Province Vodacom Cup players joined their captain Michael Willemse, who was on the bench against the Lions last week, at Stormers training on Monday.
They included flyhalf/centre Robert du Preez, lock Jan de Klerk, tighthead prop Wilco Louw and scrumhalf Godlen Masimla, and all of those players could find themselves on the bench at Growthpoint Kings Park, with Willemse probably starting.
“I think the best way to describe what we think about the chances of us suddenly ending up in the top two is summed up by the Afrikaans work onwaarskynlik, in other words, highly unlikely,” said Coetzee.
“We are not going to worry about what the Waratahs might do against the Reds or the Brumbies against the Crusaders, we are going to prepare for a quarterfinal. That means this match is an opportunity to give players who haven’t started much this season an opportunity to do so. That will help us build depth for the knock-out phase.
“But that does not mean we are going to Durban to just go through the motions and we don’t care about the result. We will still select the team in such a way that we can go there prepared to win the game and do our best. It just means it will need a bit of balancing. We understand there are players who need rest because of over-reaching. It will be good to start the knock-out phase with players who are fresh and sharp.”
Coetzee said that giving players who had been involved in most of the season a rest now would be perfect in terms of the timing of the Kings Park clash.
“We’ve just had three games after our last bye, so if players get a rest this week, it fits nicely into two three week cycles (the Stormers will have to play three knock-out games to win the competition).”
The news on the injury front is that Demetri Catrakilis has undergone his first in a series of mandatory tests following the concussion he suffered against the Lions, and the news there is good.
“He is not suffering any nausea or vomiting or anything like that, which is a good sign,” said Coetzee.
Catrakilis almost certainly won’t be considered for the Sharks game, with Du Preez likely to back-up Coleman in Durban.
The Sharks match will offer starting opportunities to players who might have been first choices had it not been for injury lay-offs, with wing Kobus van Wyk and Ruan Botha, who Coetzee says has looked great in training, set to make their comebacks at Kings Park. Michael Rhodes, who played 10 minutes against the Lions, will also start, and so probably will Jaco Taute.
“It’s all about giving some players opportunities and managing others. We do need to manage Damian de Allende. He has played all our games this season. Dillyn Leyds has played all with the exception of one. Cheslin Kolbe too, and he has been targeted in several of those games.”