The fact that the Lions last year denied Vodacom WP and the Stormers a place in the Currie Cup and Super 14 finals respectively would not be on the Stormers’ minds when the teams battle it out at Newlands on Saturday.
Vodacom Stormers captain Jean de Villiers gave that assurance in the build-up to the big game this week. The Stormers are in dire need of a win after going down to the Bulls last Saturday at Loftus in Pretoria.
They have one win from four starts to show before departing for the arduous overseas leg of their campaign.
The Lions are in a similar position and will be smarting for a win. They would love nothing better than beating the Stormers in front of their home crowd.
De Villiers, referring to last year’s clashes, said: “I don’t think we will go in with that attitude (revenge). We want to get a win, and if we are in a situation to press for a bonus point, that would be fantastic.
“But we are definitely not putting our focus on that at the moment. We are sticking to what we have been doing all year at training and hopefully it will just come off for a change.”
The scrums and lineouts will be a big focus point in this game. The Lions have Heinke van der Merwe back at loosehead prop, with experienced Springbok Lawrence Sephaka on the other side. Jannes Labuschagne is also back to add more oomph to the Lions pack.
Coach Rassie Erasmus said he was always nervous before a contest against the Lions, particularly about the lineouts. “We have had a good lineout the last two years, but for one reason or another, and I don’t want to jinx us, we normally do well in the lineouts and then we get to the Lions in the Currie Cup and Super 14 and we struggle in the lineouts.”
He added that the Lions don’t have a great lineout statistic thus far in the Super 14, but for some reason the Stormers always battle against the visitors from Gauteng.
The Stormers have spoken about their desire to put on a good display for their loyal fans and Saturday may just be the day everything clicks and they show what they really are capable off…
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Nick Koster, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain),11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JD Moller, 18 AJ Venter, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenhage, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Tonderai Chavhanga.
Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Ashwin Willemse, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Barry Goodes, 11 Henno Mentz, 10 André Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (captain), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Jannes Labuschagne, 3 Lawrence Sephaka, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Gerhardt Mostert, 19 Todd Clever, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Shandre Frolick.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)