Rassie wants to see more of fringe players

PUBLISHED: January 27, 2009

Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus is looking forward to seeing more of the players who would provide the depth in this years Vodacom Super 14 campaign when his side takes on the Boland Kavaliers at Wellington on Saturday.

The Stormers beat English Premiership side Saracens 43-33 at Newlands on Sunday in their first warm-up game and Erasmus afterwards proclaimed himself happy, but admitted he would have liked to see more of the likes of Nick Koster – whom he is experimenting with at wing – and Tongan utility back Alipate Fatafehi.

The latter got a run at wing on Sunday but didn’t get a real opportunity to show his worth on the attack.

The coach was hoping to have props Brian Mujati and JC Kritzinger back for Saturday’s final warm-up match.

“For the bulk of the squad we are fairly happy with our depth. AJ (Venter) didn’t play, Conrad Jantjes and Brian didn’t play. There are a lot of guys we wanted to see play. And obviously the last 20 minutes we wanted Nick Koster to get more ball, guys like Alipate to get some ball.

“Unfortunately the game at that stage – we made ten subs – the game lost a bit of structure. But hopefully against Boland we will see more of these guys. The starting line-up had good structure.

“They only conceded one try and they also played well on the attack. And because of all the changes in the second half we lost structure, but hopefully against Boland we can give those guys a run. The difficult thing about warm-up games is do you play four and sustain ten injuries or do you play one and get no injuries?”

Commenting on the performance of Duane Vermeulen, who joined the Stormers from the Cheetahs at the end of last year, the coach said: “It will take time for him to link up with the other loose-forwards and get used to the running around and get used to our patterns and to get used to Jean and the other guys. But for a start I think he did awesome.”

Captain Jean de Villiers said he was happy with the performance. “It was enjoyable and I can feel the body is sore, but it was good to get 60 minutes behind my back. It was tough out there and we new it was going to be tough, but we stood up well against them and I was quite please with our performance on defence.”

Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant impressed with his place kicking and failed with only one conversion. He succeeded with five conversions and a penalty and Erasmus lauded former kicking coach Louis Koen for the foundation he laid last year.

“Credit should go to Louis Koen. I think he put the basic stuff in place for the players to lift their game from last year. Greg Hechter is now the kicking guy and I think he is just taking over from where Louis left it and I think the guys are really confident. And they are kicking well and it is not just the place-kicking…

“I think the general kicking game was also good and it is obviously good to have Percy (Montgomery), Willem (de Waal) and those guys around. I think our kicking game compared to last year this time is much better and with our defence we need to keep it up there.”