Mauger wary of 'big, dangerous' Stormers
Cape Town - Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger expects a stern challenge from the Stormers in Friday’s Super Rugby encounter in Dunedin (kick-off 08:35 SA time).
The Stormers started their Australasian tour with a 34-27 defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney and took a 45-28 pounding against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend, but Mauger remains wary of the threats they could pose.
Mauger spoke to the Highlanders’ official website after naming his team on Wednesday and said the Stormers have been "playing well in patches” this season.
“They can be very dangerous. They’re a big, physical and abrasive side. They really rely on momentum, especially (with) their forward pack,” Mauger said.
“They’ve (also) got some real threats in broken field. They are a dangerous team with ball in hand in open spaces. So we’re well aware of the threats that are coming. But we’ve prepared well for that and we’re looking forward to that challenge.
“Of course for our team it’s another opportunity to put a good performance together at home for our people - we will certainly be working hard to do just that.”
The Highlanders beat the Blues 41-34 in their opening game in Dunedin on February 23, before enjoying a bye last week.
Mauger though is confident that their momentum was not halted by the rest week.
“We didn’t really need it two weeks into the competition but we used it as a positive. It’s not a big deal really.”
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes
15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit/George Whitehead, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 JJ Engelbrecht