The new-look Vodacom Stormers are keen to live up to their potential when they play against the Cheetahs in a Super 14 match at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
The Stormers thus far couldn’t quite live up to the expectations of their fans. This week coach Kobus van der Merwe opted to give some of his stalwarts a rest and bring some fresh legs into the starting line-up.
He opted to hand centre Jean de Villiers the captaincy reins. The Springbok oozed confidence this week when he spoke about the changes to the side.
“We’ve got a really exciting team this week. We’ve got some very fast runners in Tondie (Tonderai Chavhanga) and Joe (Pietersen) on the outside, as well as Marius (Joubert) and (Rayno Benjamin).
“They are also good passers of the ball at speed. So we will be looking to score some tries on Saturday.”
De Villiers is aware of the magnitude of the task at hand. The Cheetahs beat Western Province – who forms the backbone of this Stormers side – two years in a row in Currie Cup semi-finals. They would thus come here with a lot of confidence.
Coach Rassie Erasmus is a wily customer and he would have his usual bag of tricks ready to get the better of the home side. “You never know with Rassie. We’ll only know their starting line-up once it runs on to the field. Rassie likes to play mind games,” commented De Villiers.
The Springbok believes the Stormers have the character to bounce back from the devastating defeat to the Hurricanes last Saturday. “In this competition you cannot worry for too long about what happened in the previous games, because the next game is just as tough or even tougher.
“I think the vibe in the camp is still good. We have an exciting team and hopefully we can produce a good performance this weekend.”
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Joe Petersen, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Marius Goosen, 12 Jean De Villiers (captain), 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Justin Melck, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 Neil Fullard, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Adri Badenhorst, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 De Wet Barry.
Vodacom Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Giscard Pieters, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Barry Goodes, 11 Gaffie du Toit, 10 Meyer Bosman, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Juan Smith (captain), 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Barend Pieterse, 4 Corniel van Zyl, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Os du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Ollie le Roux, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Cobus Grobler, 19 Frans Viljoen, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Sinethemba Zweni, 22 Eddie Fredericks.
Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)