Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is not bothered by the fact the Bulls are coming to Cape Town with what has been labelled a “B”-team for Saturday’s crunch Vodacom Super 14 at Newlands.
The Bulls last week secured top spot on the log when they trounced the Crusaders and have the luxury of resting several first-choice players this weekend. The Stormers have it all to do and they know they need a win to secure a home semi-final.
Coetzee said they can only take care of what they can control. “We’ll look after what we can control. We know any Bulls side coming down to Cape Town won’t be a pushover.
“In our minds we have one goal and that’s to get four points because it will secure us a home semi-final. We have to make sure that we pitch up and show a massive improvement since our last game.”
When asked whether they feel insulted by the Bulls decision to come here with a second-string side, Coetzee said it was not going to be a fantastic Bulls side, but it’s a helluva huge pack with players that just won the Vodacom Cup.
“They’ll feel they’re the underdog and the underdog is normally a dangerous species, so we’re preparing for a massive game. We’ll look to control the lineout and keep it as accurate as it has been the whole season and make sure our scrum is dominant again this weekend and that we play well at the breakdown.”
Turning to team selection, the coach said it was great to have Wicus Blaauw back. Blaauw was out injured for a long time and he returns in place of JD Moller.
“Wicus Blaauw is our number one loosehead and it’s great to have him back. JD did fantastically well in the time that Wicus was rehabbing.”
The coach said leaving out wing Sireli Naqalevuki was a tactical decision. “The stats show what a quality player he is. He’s well-liked in the side and well supported and he’s showed by his running metres, his tackle breaks, his gain line advantage, he compares right up there to Bryan and (Bulls wing Gerhard) Van den Heever.
“Once you take the emotion and sentiment out of it, then you see the value of Sireli in this team. I’ve looked at the opposition and we know the Bulls are coming with an aerial bombardment and we’ve based our selections on that.
“Joe (Pietersen) is our number one fullback. He’s available, so we have to start him, and having Gio on the right wing… a left footed kicker is the right thing to do. It’s unfortunate that Sireli has to miss out this week but it’s got nothing to do with last week’s mistake.
“We lost because the team made a lot of mistakes against the Sharks. We had 35 handling errors last week, not because of Sireli not dotting down behind the poles.
“So that’s why I’ve got Bryan, Gio and Joe at the back to handle the kicking game this weekend. Sireli is still part of our 26 and I’ll stick with that.”