The Vodacom Stormers on Thursday announced two changes to the side that lost to the Cheetahs last weekend for Friday evening’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the Western Force at Newlands.
Both were forced changes. Lock Selborne Boome was not considered due to a stomach ailment, while Ross Skeate – who was a substitute lock last week – is out with an ankle injury.
Springbok Gerrie Britz will be starting the match, with one of last year’s Vodacom WP finds of the Currie Cup season, Francois van der Merwe, on the substitutes’ bench.
Explaining his decision to stick to his guns, coach Kobus van der Merwe said: “I think the guys realize they underperformed, but it is important not to panic.
“We have a lot of talent in the team and we know what the guys can do. I have shown faith in them by giving them another opportunity. I am convinced it will go a lot better this week.
“If not, we would have to look at changes,” said Van der Merwe.
The coach said the squad spent a lot of time working on rectifying the shortcomings that cost them so dearly in Bloemfontein.
“First of all our first phase was not good. Our ball retention was not good and our physical presence at the breakdown was not up to scratch. We spent a lot of time working on that this week.
“Monday and Tuesday we had high intensity practice sessions and that is the major aspect we want to improve this week.”
Vodacom Stormers: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Breyton Paulse, 13. Corne Uys, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Conrad Jantjes, 10. Naas Olivier, 9. Bolla Conradie, 8. Joe van Niekerk, 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Luke Watson (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Gerrie Britz, 3. Eddie Andrews, 2. Schalk Brits, 1. JD Moller. RESERVES: 16. Tiaan Liebenberg, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Francois van der Merwe, 19. Robbie Diack, 20. JP Joubert, 21. Brent Russell, 22. De Wet Barry.