Investec Stormers have to adapt without stalwarts

PUBLISHED: May 26, 2004

It will be difficult to replace the stalwarts who have left for greener pastures, but Investec Stormers coach Gert Smal is hopeful that the team can build on this year’s good Super 12 performance.

The Stormers will be without players such as regular captain Corne Krige, flank Pierre Uys, lock Selborne Boome and possibly veteran wing Pieter Rossouw in next year’s competition. Rossouw would probably announce his retirement soon, while the former three are heading overseas.

Smal said it was sad to lose such quality players, but added that it was part of the game. “Yes, it is a pity to lose them. I must give credit to them.

“Corne showed great leadership qualities over the years, while we will also miss Pieter, who was an integral member of our team. There will always be a special place for them in the Stormers.

“We wish them all of the best in the years to come. However, next year their will be youngsters who will have to fill their boots.

“Next year will bring fresh challenges. You can never accept because things went well this year, the same will happen next year.

“You must start from scratch and put things in place. Hopefully we will have most of the players of this year available again and hopefully we can build on that continuity.”

The former Springbok flank admitted that the team would miss the experience of the departed players. He however added that the responsibility is now that of the youngsters and they need to learn how to deal with it.

“Hopefully we can get the guys who come in quickly at the level where they can play good games, take the right decisions and show the skills that will be an asset to the side.”

Smal said he would not hesitate to look to boost the team from outside the region in positions where the depth is insufficient.

“I will look in the Stormers region first, but if there are players outside the region who are good enough I will try and get them here.”