Stormers brace for Test match intensity

    2017-07-21 09:03

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Stormers prop Oli Kebble is on his way out of Newlands, but he is determined to ensure that Saturday's Super Rugby quarter-final against the Chiefs is not his final match for the franchise. 

    The 25-year-old Kebble will be joining the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland at the end of the Super Rugby season, prompting speculation that he will follow the path of a number of South African-born players who represent other national teams. 

    For now, though, Kebble is only focused on the Stormers. 

    He has been named on the bench for Saturday while JC Janse van Rensburg has been given the nod at loosehead - the same combination that was backed by coach Robbie Fleck when the Stormers beat the Chiefs 34-26 at Newlands back on April 8. 

    Kebble played 25 minutes of that match and came on when the Stormers were under the pump. 

    They were forced to put in one of their most impressive defensive shifts of the season to secure victory in that match, and Kebble always remembers the words of Stormers legend Schalk Burger whenever he comes up against a New Zealand team.

    "There's definitely a Test match intensity," Kebble said.

    "Schalk used to say to us that those sort of New Zealand derbies are the closest thing you're going to get to a Test match. I felt it a couple of times before and definitely in that game ... the intensity was unbelievable."

    While the win over the Chiefs this season was undoubtedly the Stormers' finest moment of the year, memories of last year's quarter-final at Newlands are also fresh. 

    The Stormers were smashed 60-21 in that match as their season came crashing down in embarrassing fashion, but Kebble believes the side is far better prepared this time around. 

    "When we came up against them in the quarters last year we hadn't played a team of their standard yet and we were a bit shell-shocked when they started so quickly," Kebble said.

    "We've definitely benefited this year from having played all of the New Zealand sides in the competition and understanding exactly what sort of level we need to play at to beat the New Zealand teams.

    "Newlands is a happy hunting ground for us ... we're quite confident for Saturday."

    The Stormers had not played Kiwi opposition in 2016 before they came up against the Chiefs - one of many obvious flaws in the existing Super Rugby structure. 

    This year, they have won two and lost three against New Zealand opposition, with all of those defeats coming on a tour that will hopefully benefit this side on Saturday. 

    It took something seriously special to get the job done on April 8. That was the day when Dillyn Leyds through that miracle pass to SP Marais. 

    "Some of the stuff that we did against them in the first round was amazing, passes that I've never seen before sticking," Kebble recalled.

    "It was a great feeling beating the Chiefs here at Newlands. We've done it before and we can quite easily do it again."

    Kick-off is at 17:00.

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    15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

    Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Seabelo Senatla, 23 Juan de Jongh


    15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames

    Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Shaun Stevenson

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