Monty looking forward to challenge

PUBLISHED: February 26, 2009

Veteran Springbok fullback Percy Montgomery is looking forward to playing for the Vodacom Stormers on Saturday in their Vodacom Super 14 match against the Blues.

Coach Rassie Erasmus selected Montgomery in the starting line-up for the first time this season, but at Wednesday’s media conference said he would give the regular No 15 Conrad Jantjes until Friday to prove his fitness.

“The only change is Percy in place of Connie, but we will give Connie time until Friday. He has got a niggle in his calf and hopefully it is nothing too serious. We are going to give him until Friday. Otherwise it is the same starting lineup. Only if Connie is out, Willem de Waal will move in onto the bench and Percy Montgomery will start.”

The coach retained Luke Watson at No 8 and Duane Vermeulen at flank but said Francois Louw is pushing really hard for a place in the starting XV. “But if you compare all four loose-forwards … they are all world class in my opinion.

“I think the loose-forwards that played on Saturday played quite well. We just want to build some momentum. It is always nice to rotate, but not nice to rotate when you are not on a roll. But I know when Francois gets his chance he will play to get a place in the starting line-up.”

Returning to the selection of World Cup winner and Springbok icon Montgomery, Erasmus said the blonde back offers a lot to the team. “Everything. Consistency, experience, skill, and it is just wonderful to have him there. Even though I know Connie might be ready, I think it is the right time to give Percy a run.

“We will reassess Connie on Friday, but it is lovely to have Percy and I also want to see him on the park. So it is a lovely situation to be in.”

Montgomery started his provincial career at Newlands before heading overseas and to the Sharks. He said: “It is always nice to be part of the Stormers franchise. It is unfortunate about Connie but hopefully he will be fit on Friday and I hope he gets a speedy recovery. It still is a great challenge and I am looking forward to it.”

The coach said flyhalf Peter Grant would still be entrusted with the goal-kicking.

Erasmus said he expects a tough challenge from the Blues and a totally different type of confrontation. “It is a completely different challenge. Where the Reds played a certain way on the attack which was difficult to defend these guys are a physical team and much more direct but still as difficult to defend against.

“Where the one is skilful, this one will come with a more physical approach but also with a lot of skill.”