Town - In 2017 only the Rebels, Cheetahs and Sunwolves conceded more tries than
the Stormers in Super Rugby.
By the end of the Conference
stages of the competition, Robbie Fleck’s men had shipped 61 tries.
That was largely down to the
troubles they experienced on their New Zealand tour, when the Stormers conceded
24 tries in just three matches
against Kiwi opposition.
That period set off the alarm
bells at Newlands, and when they returned from tour they made defence a
It worked, and when the Stormers
went down 17-11 to the Chiefs in their Cape Town quarter-final, they conceded
just one try.
Now, with a new format to look
forward to that sees all four South African franchises back in the same
Conference, the Stormers are looking to get out of the blocks quickly with a
clinical performance against Argentina's Jaguares at Newlands on
Fleck named his side for the
season opener on Thursday, and while on paper it looks far too strong for the
Argentines, there are a few untested areas.
One of those is the back three,
where Dillyn Leyds will start at
fullback while Raymond Rhule and Seabelo Senatla will take their places
up on the wings.
With defence having been a
problem in 2017, the inclusion of Rhule and Senatla, in particular, are of
Rhule's defensive issues are
well-documented, and his horror show in South Africa's 57-0 loss to the All
Blacks in the Rugby Championship last year ultimately cost him his Springbok
The issue with Senatla,
meanwhile, is how he will fit into the Stormers defensive structures, given
that he has only been with the side for two weeks.
This back three has never
operated together before, and while what they offer with ball in hand is
undoubtedly exciting, it is on defence where they will have something to
For Fleck, though, there are no
"I prefer to focus on the
positives, and last year we scored more than we conceded," he said at
Newlands on Thursday.
"Yes we conceded some tries
... we conceded most of those tries on tour. When we got back we were a better
While they finished fourth on the
'tries conceded' list, the Stormers also finished fourth in 'tries scored' with
64. Only the Crusaders, Hurricanes
and Lions scored more.
"Seabelo is in and out
between Sevens and 15s and it always takes him a bit of time to adjust, but
he's been with us for two weeks so that should be sufficient in terms of
systems," Fleck added.
"I'm happy with the other
two (Rhule and Leyds). They both read the game well and defend well, so there
are no issues there.
"From a combination point of
view, they're a little green in terms of knowing each other and playing a lot
of games together, but each one has certain strengths and they're going to add
a lot of value in terms of the way we want to play."
Stormers are also without two of their biggest defensive assets in Eben
Etzebeteh and Pieter-Steph du Toit, with both Boks out injured.
Toit is recovering from a back strain but is still expected to go on the
Australasian tour following the Jaguares game, while Etzebeth is out for an
extended period with a shoulder injury.
on Saturday is at 15:05.
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertanou, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Felipe Arregui