It is going to be a war of attrition and if the Vodacom Stormers pack can hold their own, they have a very good chance of trouncing the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday in their last Vodacom Super 14 match of the season.
Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe this week said his side was prepared for war. And forwards coach Jerome Paarwater expects a heavy physical onslaught from the Bulls pack, who have a reputation of being an intimidating force.
Paarwater this week spoke about the importance of his pack getting on the front foot on Saturday.
“It will be the same old story. They will come out with the goal of softening us up. That is what they did so effectively to the Sharks in the first half last weekend, so their approach will be the same against us.
“I expect a big onslaught up front. I was a bit disappointed with our forward’s effort last week, because they carried us the whole season. But rugby is a strange game. People remember you on your last performance and I told the guys we now have the opportunity to go fix things.
“If we don’t, we would have to endure the criticism all over again. I think to a degree we silenced our critics this year with our forward play. On Saturday we have a chance to set the record straight.”
Paarwater said he was looking forward to the battle of the packs. “We set standards for ourselves every week. Now it would be interesting to see if our pack can really stand up to a pack with a good reputation.
“As a team we need to get back that pride. In the old days no one could come to Newlands and expect to win. This year we disappointed our fans at home, even though we’ve lost a few games in the last few minutes.
“We need to get the pride back and make it difficult for teams to come win here. We want to give our supporters a good performance on Saturday.”
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Chumani Booi, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 De Wet Barry (captain), 11 Jean de Villiers, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 Neil Fullard, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Adri Badenhorst, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Tim Dlulane, 6 Jacques Cronjé, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Francois van Schouwenburg, 3 Danie Thiart, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Wessel Roux
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Pierre Spies, 20 Bakkies Botha, 21 Heini Adams, 22 Akona Ndungane
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)