Injuries might have forced his hand in some positions, but coach Allister Coetzee believes that the DHL Stormers have the right backline mix ahead of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Reds.
The DHL Stormers will face the Reds in Brisbane in their final tour match of 2014 (kick-off 10h40 SA time), with coach Coetzee having made seven changes to the starting XV this week.
In some of the changes amongst the backs, Damian de Allende shifts from inside centre to the right-wing, Jean de Villiers moves back to inside centre and Juan de Jongh will make his first start of the 2014 season at outside centre.
“If you look at the backline we have for this week you will note that it is one of the best we’ve had in ages in terms of physicality, with a lot of big ball-carriers lining up for this game,” said Coetzee on Wednesday.
“It’s been a great training with the guys at the back, and I am excited about the prospects. I reckon that we are fielding our best possible backline this week.”
In other team news, Springbok Jaco Taute is back on the bench – after resting his troublesome AC Joint for two weeks – with Kobus van Wyk, who has started on the right-wing up until now, missing out with a slight knee injury.
Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com: “Jaco is now 100% ready to go. I think he can bring a big impact from the bench, but Kobus took a slight bang to the knee against the Brumbies so he will sit out altogether this week.
“Losi (Sailosi Tagicabau), Gio and Damian offer us a lot as a back three, and I have been impressed with them in training.
“The thing about Jaco is that he offers us the option of being a centre back-up too. He will definitely come in off the bench and he will be playing an important role against the Reds. He can play almost every position in the backline, outside of scrumhalf, so he gives us a good bench option.”
Meanwhile, DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers believes that De Allende can make an impact from the wing – despite starting the last four matches in the No.12 shirt, where he has been a standout performer.
“Damian has been good at No.12, but we reckon he has enough experience now and can make a strong contribution from the wing too,” De Villiers told the official DHL Stormers website.
“I have to be honest, I am quite looking forward to playing inside centre again. Damian has done well there, but having all three of us (De Jongh, De Allende and De Villiers) on the field at the same time will significantly boost us.
“Juan (de Jongh) made a massive impact when he came on last week and he brought a lot of energy. He was fantastic when he came on. Hopefully if we just vary our play a bit more we can get the right result.”