Vodacom Stormers fans will be hoping De Wet Barry repeats his devastating performance of last weekend against the Hurricanes when his team tackles the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday.
If that happens, the Stormers will be in with a good chance of knocking over the Brumbies at Canberra for the first time in Super rugby history. With Barry back to his best and Jean de Villiers playing his best game of the season the Stormers suddenly found the missing link to their game last Saturday and were way too good for last year’s beaten finalists.
Barry this week said he was happy with his performance, but lauded those around him for his spectacular return to form. “Yes, I am very happy. Peter Grant (flyhalf) also made a huge impact on the inside as he distributes the ball well and Bolla Conradie gave us great service from the base, which made my task easier.
“Jean is a fantastic player with very unique talents and it is always a pleasure to play alongside him. We play off each other and have built up a great understanding between us so it was easy to settle into the game.
“Peter had a great game. He is not afraid of going hard to break the gain line and he protects presents the ball well after contact. He also defends well which helped me to concentrate on my channel.”
The 27-year-old is a Super rugby veteran and he was quick to caution that people shouldn’t get overexcited after one good win. He said he was patient when he was not part of the starting XV.
“The Super 14 is a long and tough tournament and success will be dependent on the participation of all players in the squad. For me it’s about what’s good for the team as I know there will always be opportunity at this level.”
The Springbok veteran, however, admitted that the win was crucial for the Stormers, who were under severe pressure after a below par start to their campaign. “That win will make the guys believe in themselves.
“They have the talents and now they have seen what they are capable of the confidence levels will increase and allow us to build on the win. We need to stay focussed on the next challenge and work harder in our preparations to ensure we can take things a step further.”
Barry said the challenge now is to put in another 80-minute performance against the Brumbies, who would be keen to atone for their defeat to the Bulls last weekend. “We were able to put in an 80 minute performance at the weekend which we have not been able to do in our previous games.
“We have showed glimpses of our capabilities but let ourselves down. Hopefully the win will give us momentum on which to build a good run of results going forward.
“But we have already put the win behind us and are completely focussed on the Brumbies match. It would be great to get another win because that would improve our log position further.
“The Brumbies remain dangerous opponents and we expect them to make it hard for us if we want to come away with a win.”
Teams for Canberra:
Brumbies: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Clyde Rathbone, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 Mark Gerrard, 10 Julian Huxley, 9 George Gregan, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 George Smith, 6 Julian Salvi, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 John Ulugia. Reserves: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Nic Henderson, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Jone Tawake, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Anthony Faingaa, 22 Francis Fainifo.
Vodacom Stormers: Gio Aplon, Breyton Paulse, Jean de Villiers, De Wet Barry, Corné Uys, Peter Grant, Bolla Conradie, Justin Melck, Schalk Burger, Luke Watson (captain), Andries Bekker, Gerrie Britz, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Brits, JD Moller. Reserves: Huia Edmunds, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Ferreira, Francois van der Merwe, JP Joubert, Naas Olivier, Egon Seconds.
Kick-off: 10:40 (SA time)