The Investec Stormers have a gilt-edged chance to reach a Super 12 semifinal for the first time since 1999 when they tackle the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
However, they will not only have to beat the Sharks, but also secure a bonus point for four tries if they want to ensure a place in next weekend’s play-offs. The Stormers are entirely capable of doing that, but then the team would have to play at their potential.
And if captain Selborne Boome’s words at the press conference earlier this week is anything to go by, the Stormers will follow a pragmatic approach in this game. Boome said the Stormers would first build an innings before playing the spectacular strokes.
“You cannot go into a game and focus right from the outset on four tries. You must first get yourself into a position to win the match before concentrating on getting four tries.”
Coach Gert Smal shared the Springbok lock’s view. “If you try to play too risky, you can fall out of the bus. It is important that we put a constructive attacking plan in place.”
Smal said the inclusion of Gaffie du Toit at flyhalf could provide a new dimension to the Stormers’ game. He added that the former Sharks player was selected for another important reason. “Gaffie’s knowledge of the Absa Stadium could be vital.”
Du Toit himself expects the Sharks to come out with a lot of attitude. “They will try to intimidate me because I am returning. Having been in their camp, I know all about it. But they can throw whatever they like at me. I am ready.”
It will be difficult, but the Stormers have the firepower and the talent to go all the way and ensure a semifinal berth.
Investec Stormers: Werner Greeff, Tonderai Chavhanga, Marius Joubert, De Wet Barry, Gus Theron, Gaffie du Toit, Bolla Conradie, Adri Badenhorst, Schalk Burger, Hendrik Gerber, Selborne Boome (capt), Quinton Davids, Eddie Andrews, Pieter Dixon, Daan Human.
Reserves: David Britz, Pat Barnard, Willem Stoltz, Pierre Uys, Niel de Kock, Chris Rossouw, Breyton Paulse.
Sharks: Brent Russell, Ricardo Loubscher, Adrian Jacobs, Trevor Halstead, Henno Mentz, Butch James, Noel Oelschig, Russell Winter, Nico Breedt, Luke Watson, Johan Ackermann, Johann Muller, BJ Botha, John Smit (capt), Eduard Coetzee.
Referee: Tappe Henning.