Cape Town - The Stormers have lost already this Super Rugby season, but this Saturday's trip to Johannesburg to take on the Lions has the potential to be their toughest hurdle of the campaign so far.
Coach Robbie Fleck's side came unstuck against the Sharks 13-18 in Cape Town on week three of the competition, but they were favourites going into that match
On Saturday night, most will be tipping the in-form Lions to get the job done at home.
"The Lions are an 80 minute side … you could clearly see
that against the Crusaders," Fleck said of Saturday's opposition, making reference to their 37-43 loss to the New Zealanders two weekends ago.
"They’re never out of the mix and they’ll fight to
"They’re back at home at altitude … I would think that they
would stick to their traditional strengths with ball-in-hand."
The Stormers are still finding their feet in their own endeavour to play expansive, ball-in-hand rugby while the Lions have spent the best part of three seasons mastering that craft.
"It’s a very important game. It’s neck and neck in every
group, so every game is important," added Fleck.
"We’re at a stage now where we’re coming up
against a good side, away from home, and we need to perform well.
in our group, but still it’s a local side who is leading the way and we need to
challenge ourselves and put in a good performance."
Fleck was made to field more questions over how Springbok centre Damian de Allende, on the bench for the match, would be used as he continues his return from an ankle injury.
"This campaign doesn’t hinge on Damian, to be fair to
everybody else," said Fleck.
"This is a squad effort and we’ve been doing quite well without
him. He certainly does bring something different.
"It’s our responsibility to
manage Damian back to full fitness. We certainly want him back in the mix,
starting, when he’s at his best and fit as possible. But this team is doing
well as it is and he has a role to play this weekend."
Saturday's match kicks off at 19:15.
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