Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe said if he were a betting man he would put money on his team to beat the Blues at Newlands on Saturday in their Vodacom Super 14 match.
He reckons there won’t be a psychological hangover from the devastating 49-12 defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria last Saturday.
“If I am a betting man I would put money on us winning that one, because we’ve gone loss, win, loss, win, loss win all season long.”
Van der Merwe said it was important for the Stormers to win their home games now and do the South African teams who were still in semi-final contention a favour or two.
“We have three home games and we want to finish strongly and hopefully we can help the other South African teams now to beat the Blues. Mathematically we are out of the race now.
“The Bulls and the Sharks are still there with a chance and the Sharks played really well against the Blues. The Blues are still ahead of them, but if the Bluess pick up two losses in South Africa, then so much better for the Sharks and the Bulls. We are certainly going flat out for that.”
Good news for Stormers fans is that wing Brent Russell, who scored a magical try early in the game against the Bulls but who had to cry off later with a hamstring injury, is showing good progress and there is a strong chance of him playing.
His replacement, Dylan des Fountain, is definitely out due to ankle trouble though.
On the negative side lock Andries Bekker is battling a back injury and he will be visiting a specialist to see how long he will be ruled out. The Stormers have Ross Skeate to fall back onto, with Francois van der Merwe the obvious choice on the bench.
Centre Jean de Villiers is back on the training field after taking a break last weekend. He will slot back in at centre, with Corné Uys a contender for the wing position.
Prop JD Moller has a hip injury and according to Van der Merwe his place will be going to Schalk Ferreira. The coach also said Tiaan Liebenberg will be getting a start at hooker, with Schalk Brits reverting to the substitutes’ bench.
Egon Seconds, Gio Aplon and Robbie Diack – who starred for Vodacom WP in their match against the Cheetahs the past Saturday – are training with the Stormers.
The team for the game against the Blues will be announced on Thursday.