The DHL Stormers are intent on showing that they can ‘stand up’ to the challenge that they will face from the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Both teams head into the North-South Vodacom Super Rugby clash with two wins this season, but the DHL Stormers know that they will need to lift their standards if they are to make it three wins from three.
Head Coach John Dobson said that his team will have to be up for the challenge and take a step up from what they have shown in their first two matches when they face their old adversaries in Pretoria on Saturday.
“This is one of South African sports’ great derbies, the Vodacom Bulls are back to being a traditional force in how they play, so we are going to have to stand up to that.
“The team are not where we want to be at the moment, so this is a big game for our pride and to show more than we have in the first two rounds,” he said.
Dobson’s squad has been boosted by the news that there were zero positive COVID-19 cases once again this week.
Last week Springboks Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni were isolated and ruled out after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive, but they will both be back in the mix this week, with Kitshoff poised to take over the captaincy from the injured Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi suffered a Grade One hamstring tear in Nelspruit on Friday and will not be available for two to three weeks.
Dobson said that having someone of the calibre of Kitshoff to step up in Kolisi’s absence is a big relief, especially considering the fact that he did the job so well at the start of the year before lockdown.
“It will be Kitsie, he did a really good job before lockdown in Siya’s absence, so there is a high level of trust with him. He is really good with his detail so it will 100% be Steven to skipper the side.
“He is arguably our most influential player, I think if you said to the coaches you can least afford to lose, we would say Steven Kitshoff. How he trains, his professionalism, his detail.
“To have him back gives a massive sense of security for the team, so that is really good news for us,” he said.