Vodcom Stormers captain Schalk Burger expects the Waratahs to be a good test for his side when they clash on Saturday evening in a Vodacom Super 14 match at Newlands.
The Stormers started off their campaign on a victorious note against the Lions in Johannesburg last week and in front of their fanatical supporters they would look for more of the same. Burger, however, warned that the Tahs will provide stiff opposition.
“The Tahs are a quality side. The Lions came out in the second half and played quite a lot of rugby which made it tough for us. The Waratahs are probably a bit more structured than the Lions, so we’ll probably have a better idea of what to expect.
“They make very little errors, they’re a championship side, so it’s going to be tough, and like every game, the kicking game is going to be key to get in the opposition half and then, when you get there, to hold onto the ball. They’ve still got some good lineouts, their set phase is pretty strong.
“Between Ben Robinson, Polota-Nau and Baxter they’ve got a strong scrum as well, so it’s going to be a tough one.”
Burger is acutely aware of the toughness of the competition and the fact that you can never underestimate an opponent. “Things change so quickly in this competition, one week you’re absolutely on and you play good rugby and the next week for whatever reason you get a hiding.
“So we’re under no illusions. We are glad to got off to a winning start but this is a brand new week and we need to go out and play some quality rugby against the Waratahs. Whenever you play tough opposition you have to go and win it.
“You can’t expect them to give it to you.”
Coach Allister Coetzee agreed with his captain, saying his charges cannot afford to relax this weekend. “For me, there’s no time for relaxing this week. We haven’t achieved anything yet.
“We’ve got five home games at Newlands and this one is against a quality side. That second half (against the Lions) gives me enough reason to make sure we’re up for Saturday’s game, and to make sure we start clinically and finish in the second half as accurately as we can.
“This is a side full of experienced players, not youngsters like the Lions. They’ve got Berrick Barnes with them now who is an experienced 10 and a game breaker, and if you turn so much possession over they will punish you. They’ve got experience and gamebreakers and they will punish you.”
Coetzee emphasized his players should be at their best. “They’ve got quality players, and there’s no room for us not to execute and make mistakes against these okes. They’re a well coached side, with a good set piece, good defence, and a great kicking game. We will be tested in all facets of the game.”
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers – Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jaques Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger (captain), Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, JC Kritzinger. Reserves: Deon Fourie, Eusebio Guinazu, Anton van Zyl, Pieter Louw, Dewaldt Duvenage, Lionel Cronje, Sireli Naqelevuki.
HSBC Waratahs – Sosene Anesi, Lachie Turner, Tom Carter, Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (c), Ben Mowen, Kane Douglas, Will Caldwell, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Sekope Kepu, Hendrik Roodt, Dave Dennis, Josh Holmes, Daniel Halangahu, Rory Sidey.
Referee: Keith Brown