The Investec Stormers are quietly confident that they can start off the overseas part of their Super 12 campaign on a good note on Saturday, when they take on the Reds in Brisbane.
However, they will not underestimate the Reds, currently languishing at No 11 on the Super 12 points’ table. The Reds have been ravaged by injury and will only announce their side for Saturday’s clash at Ballymore tomorrow.
Reds’ captain Elton Flatley has an injured thumb, back-up flyhalf Tim Walsh a broken finger and star wing Wendell Sailor is still struggling with a hamstring injury.
However, Investec Stormers coach Gert Smal was in no mood to take a victory as a given. “Al the talk of injuries to the Reds does not comfort me,” said the coach.
“We all saw what happened to the Bulls when they came to Newlands while we were in dire straits with injuries. The Reds are in the same boat on Saturday.”
His words were echoed by hooker Pieter Dixon, back in the side after a long layoff due to a eye socket fracture.
“The Reds have a few injuries and that’s a good thing for us. But we cannot underestimate them.”
The return to action of Dixon should lead to an improvement in the Stormers lineout play. “There is a lot of expectation, but I’m not feeling the pressure,” said Dixon.
“Often when hookers miss one or two lineouts, they panic a bit because they obviously want to do well for the team. But you can’t panic. You just have to relax. Experience plays a big part in that.”
If the Stormers could pull off a win in Brisbane they would set themselves up nicely for the rest of the tour and a semifinal spot.
Investec Stormers: Gaffie du Toit, Breyton Paulse, Marius Joubert, De Wet Barry, Pieter Rossouw, Chris Rossouw, Bolla Conradie, Adri Badenhorst, Schalk Burger, Corne Krige (c), Willem Stoltz, Quinton Davids, Pat Barnard, Pieter Dixon, Daan Human. Replacements: David Britz, Eddie Andrews, Rob Linde, Hendrik Gerber, Neil de Kock, Gavin Hume, Tonderai Chavhanga .
Reds: Not Available.