‘Players have responded well’

PUBLISHED: March 20, 2014

Forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has praised the DHL Stormers players for their hard work at training this week, believing that it will put the team in good stead for their third tour match of 2014.

The DHL Stormers will take on the Brumbies in Canberra in Vodacom Super Rugby action on Saturday (kick-off 10h40 SA time), knowing how important a victory would be for their campaign at this stage of the season.

“We’re definitely looking for the win. We’ve been really critical of ourselves, isolating where we need to perform to get the result we want,” said Proudfoot on Thursday from his team’s base in Coogee (Sydney).

“On that note, the players have responded well at training (this week). You know, there’s not a lot of time to train when you’re on tour. You need to be accurate when you do and the players have responded well on that level.”

The DHL Stormers will transfer to Canberra on Friday, ahead of their regular pre-match captain’s run at a venue where they have won just once in seven games.

However, that win came in their previous encounter in Canberra (in 2011) and nine players – including captain Jean de Villiers and vice-captain Schalk Burger – are back for this fixture some three years later.

Proudfoot told www.iamastormer.com: “We do take a good feeling out there (from last time out), but we know that this is probably Australia’s best side and they are playing well at the moment. We know it will be a very tough game.

“We watched their game against the Waratahs, who they dominated, so it was a sobering experience to see that (having watched it together as a team). We know what we have to do, the detail has been good this week and we hope to take our energy with us to Canberra when we travel there tomorrow (Friday) and build momentum to our campaign now.”

Head coach Allister Coetzee has made five changes to the DHL Stormers starting XV for this weekend, including the return of Frans Malherbe as the starting tighthead prop (with Brok Harris dropping to the bench) and the continued selection of two tearaway loose forwards – in Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi – on the bench.

“All the props, even when Pat Cilliers was still with us, and now with Oli Kebble and Brok Harris on the bench, have done a fantastic job,” enthused Proudfoot.

“The scrummaging performances have improved this season and we’ve capitalised on the work that we’ve been doing at training. I must say that Tiaan Liebenberg’s leadership has been good and then, of course, we’re getting a massive impact from loose forwards Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi when they come on.

“It’s nice being able to put those guys on and then still have the luxury to have a hooker (on the bench) to add on to that intensity.”