Rassie Erasmus doesn’t expect his knowledge of the Cheetahs systems and players to be of any advantage to the Vodacom Stormers when the two clash in their final Vodacom Super 14 match of the season in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The coach announced only one change to the side that beat the Western Force at Newlands the past Saturday. Prop JD Moller is not available.
“There is only one change,” said Erasmus on Wednesday. “JD Moller’s dad passed away in a vehicle accident and he unfortunately will not be playing. Wicus Blaauw will be moving into the starting lineup and Schalk Ferreira onto the bench.
“Other than that it is the same team that played in the previous game.” The former Cheetahs player and coach said he was not prepared to take a risk with injured Springbok stars Jean de Villiers and Andries Bekker.
There was speculation this week that Erasmus may include the two for the last game. Erasmus however said if the game was of any real significance he would have selected them, but said there was not much at stake. “It was tempting. If it was maybe a test match against the Lions this weekend they might have been ready to play.
“If it was a semifinal or a really important game – for us it is a massively important game – but it would be a bit senseless if you think we are going into a Currie Cup in a months’ time and those guys would probably not be with us to risk them a week early.
“If it was a bigger occasion game we might have pushed them through but I just thought it doesn’t make sense.” He said the injured stars were well on their way to recovery. “I think they are about 90% there. Like all the other players there are niggles and bruises. If they were in the Sharks or Bulls team this weekend then it it might have been worth risking them but for them it is best not to play this weekend.”
Erasmus, a former Cheetahs player and coach himself, denied that the fact he has ties with the Bloemfontein team and also bought star loosie Duane Vermeulen from there would be a motivating factor. He emphasized there will be no personal vendettas.
“No, not at all, I think everybody’s trying to play that guitar over and over again. With all respect, AJ would feel that way when playing against the Sharks, Frans Steyn is in the same boat as he is from Bloemfontein, Joe is from Grey College…
“This is a professional game and if there are such emotions involved in every single game you will get a bit confused about whose hating who in professional rugby at this stage. I will just be excited to see what happening with the rebuilding of the stadium.”