DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is hoping that a new-look loose trio will kick-start his team’s bid for victory in Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Rebels in Melbourne (11h40 SA time).
Regular hooker Deon Fourie will pack down in the No.6 jersey this week, with Siya Kolisi occupying the No.7 position and eighthman Nizaam Carr set to make his first start of 2013.
“This is quite a good and exciting team and we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform on Friday,” said Coetzee from Sydney on Wednesday, after announcing a team showing seven changes (two of them positional) from last week.
“We’ve lost two loose forwards – including a No.8 – and we all know that Deon has done the job for us there before and he’s been very successful there (at Currie Cup level). Hopefully he can do the job for us at Super Rugby level too.”
In terms of Kolisi’s role, which sees him move across from openside to blindside, Coetzee explained: “Siya has done the job for us well at No.6 for us since Schalk Burger’s injury last year. But we all know that he’s a good ball-carrier, so hopefully he can fill that role for us this weekend.
“A big part of a No.7s job is to carry (the ball). I’m excited about him playing there, but I don’t think it’s a massive difference (or change) for Siya. He’s done well for us at No.6, but this is a great opportunity to see how he goes at 7.
“Nizaam has been good off the bench, but this is a good opportunity for him to stake a claim for a starting spot at No.8. He’s been training well, he deserves this chance, and this is a great opportunity for him.”
With a new-look loose trio and front row set to front up against the Rebels, there will also be a brand-new halfback pairing with Louis Schreuder starting his first match this season alongside Springbok Elton Jantjies, who replaces Gary van Aswegen as the starting flyhalf.
“Louis hasn’t had an opportunity to start yet (this season). Groomie (Nic Groom) has started, Dewies (Dewaldt Duvenage) has started… maybe Louis can bring something different to the team. He’s been training well – it’s also a great opportunity for him and I know he’s very excited about starting.
“We’re not suddenly going to change the way we play – you have to be part of the squad to understand the momentum we build at training. We’ve spoken all year about having three good scrumhalves at our disposal, but you cannot leave a guy out if he’s playing well… yet the others also need a starting opportunity.
“The big responsibility of Louis and Elton is to direct play for us this weekend and to make good decisions in terms of where we want to play and to use the opportunities that we get.”
The DHL Stormers currently have six points from three matches on tour and a win over the Rebels could see him finish their four-match tour with either 10 or 11 points.
For Coetzee, however, Friday has nothing to do with four-try bonus points or potential permutations – he has one thing only on his mind; victory.
“We’re just looking at this one (this weekend). We’ve lost two games in a row now, so we’re just looking to come away with a win,” said the Stormers boss. “Winning a conference or talking about play-off chances is looking too far ahead. It’s all about this weekend – getting the points and getting back to winning ways again.”
Meanwhile, skipper Jean de Villiers has stressed that the team – himself included – needs to cut out their errors and back up what their coaches have been saying all season long.
“We’ve had two narrow losses now – two games we could’ve won, but didn’t… more than anything we need to win this game on Friday,” said De Villiers. “The injuries don’t help, but that’s all part of this game… we just need to adapt and play better rugby.”
When asked about how they could “play better rugby”, the Stormers’ star centre added: “For us, it’s just (about) holding onto the ball. We have addressed it once again this week – it’s something we’ve been poor at, myself included.
“The individual errors we’ve been making are not acceptable at this level. The coaching staff have done more than enough to put structures in place and give us an effective gameplan, but we, as players, need to go and execute it and hold onto the ball.
“I think our defence was solid (against the Waratahs), even though we did concede two tries, and we created chances for ourselves, which, of course, we did not take. (The improvement) is something that has to come from within, but, first and foremost, we need to cut down on our errors.”