Our focus this week has been solely on the Force. In fact, our preparation started at 6am on Sunday after the Bulls win, with the analysis, review and preview.
You cannot afford in this completion to underestimate any team and the old cliché that any team can win on any given day, often holds true.
We have been very careful not to let the Loftus win get to our heads and with good reason – a look at recent results confirms the challenge we face this week. The Force this season has lost a couple of very tight games against quality opposition and was competitive against the Sharks despite being reduced to 14 men after just 17 minutes. To top that, we lost to them last year on tour and won by a single point at Newlands the year before.
They are a physical side that is tactically and technically sound. They prepare and play smartly and clearly analyse and think about their opposition thoroughly. They are good on the ground and play around their star players well. There is no doubt we will need to be focussed, well prepared and will need to make a step up this week if we are to maintain our unbeaten status.
We have had the luxury of only a single change to the starting line-up, with Elstadt having gone over his ankle being replaced by De Kock. Anton returns to the bench as lock cover after a run at VCom Cup last week. Also on the bench Ntubeni and Lionel get a call up from the VCom Cup team whilst Gary, who has been benched for a couple of games, goes down to get some game time. It’s a huge positive to have a wealth of young talent available to us now and structures built over the years that facilitate easy mobility. We have a large group of very motivated players and a healthy level of competition, which is starting to show in the results. There is no lack of attitude, commitment and effort at all levels!
We would dearly like to make it 5 from 5 on Saturday. Thanks for the awesome support.
See the Faithful at DHL Newlands.
Your Coach Allister Coetzee.
Match details: DHL Stormers v Western Force at DHL Newlands on Saturday 26 March.
Kick-off is at 15h00, with the curtain raiser match between DHL WP and Griquas taking place at 12h40. Gates open at 12h30, and fans are encouraged to make their way to the stadium early as they can expect music, entertainment, face painters and much more on the Castle lawns.
Tickets are available at all Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers outlets as well as on the Computicket website (www.computicket.com) and from the Newlands Box Office at the following prices:
Seating: Grand Stand R120
Seating: Railway, Jan Pickard and Danie Craven Stand R100
Seating: Grand Stand Ramp R80
Standing: Danie Craven Standing R50
The team is as follows: Gio Aplon, Danie Poolman, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers (C), Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermuelen, Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw
Reserves: Siyabonga Ntubeni, CJ Van Der Linde, Anton Van Zyl, Nick Koster, Ricky Januarie, Lionel Cronje, Juan De Jongh