The Investec Stormers will be looking to find the lost magic when they tackle the Blues in a Super 12 match at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Stormers captain De Wet Barry last week, when speaking about his favourite matches in the Stormers jersey, fondly spoke about two games against the Blues. Last year the Stormers stunned the Blues at Eden Park to achieve a memorable win.
It was the match in which Hendrik Gerber (currently injured) reduced Carlos Spencer from King Carlos to Queen Carlos. And it was the match that signalled the arrival of wing Tonderai Chavhanga to the big time.
On Saturday the Stormers must use that match as inspiration.
Their fans would hope Jean de Villiers would be another source of inspiration. The blonde Springbok played all his games – except for the one against the Highlanders – for the Stormers thus far at wing and today returns to outside centre.
This week coach Gert Smal said he had planned all along to give the creative De Villiers a run at outside centre and that now is the perfect opportunity. Die afrigter hoop dat De Villiers die nodige vonk gaan verskaf wat die ster-belaaide onderpresteerders op die regte pad sal plaas.
“I would like to see if he can create more space for the outside backs. Maybe Jean’s creative play can do something for us,” said the coach. Wing Breyton Paulse hasn’t seen much of the ball this season and Chavhanga is keen to show off his blistering pace.
That is why De Villiers has a vital role to play against the star-studded, but unpredictable Blues.
They would, however, know that they cannot depend on De Villiers too much and that only a massive team effort would suffice. Smal said his team would have to apply the pressure on the visitors right from the start.
“Your defence need to be really good against the New Zealand teams and you must apply the pressure right until the end. You cannot relax for one moment.”
Last weekend against the Crusaders the Stormers faded badly in the second half, but Smal said the problem has been addressed.
Teams for Newlands:
Investec Stormers: 15 Gaffie Du Toit, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 De Wet Barry (kaptein), 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Chris Rossouw, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Gerrie Britz, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rob Linde, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 Hanyani Shimange, 1 Eddie Andrews.
Reserves: 16 Pieter Dixon, 17 Riaan Olckers, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 David Hendriks, 20 Neil de Kock, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Gus Theron.
Blues: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Ben Atiga, 12 Luke McAllister, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Steve Devine, 8 Xavier Rush (captain), 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Bradley Mika, 4 Angus Macdonald, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: 16 Derren Witcombe, 17 Saimonie Taumoepeau, 18 Nick Williams, 19 Justin Collins, 20 Ben Meyer, 21 Rua Tipoki, 22 Isa Nacewa.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson.