Van der Merwe happy with his charges

PUBLISHED: January 21, 2007

Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe on Monday has the difficult task to trim down his squad for the Vodacom Super 14 to 30 players.

The Stormers and a Stormers XV on Saturday convincingly beat two Boland teams in their last warm-up games before the season kicks off with an away game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on 3 February.

Van der Merwe said he was impressed by a number of players on Saturday and it would be a tough task to leave eight players out of the current squad.

He said the Stormers XV didn’t start well against a Boland team in the curtain raiser. “We made a lot of mistakes, particularly in the first 20 minutes we were not in the game at all.

“They started very well and in the first 20 minutes we battled to retain possession. The one aspect that was disappointing was the amount of times we ran over the sideline and in that manner lost possession,” said the coach.

He was, however, impressed by the display in the second 20 minutes of the first half and the first 20 minutes of the second half.

Van der Merwe added: “Brent Russell looked much sharper than last week at flyhalf and Werner (Greeff) also looked good. The loose trio of Justin Melck, Pieter Louw and Joe van Niekker played very well.”

Van Niekerk also went on as substitute in the main game and again impressed his coach, who said he is glad to have the Springbok and Robbie Diack at No 8. Van der Merwe also lauded Naas Olivier, who started at flyhalf in the main game. “He was very good.”

More good news for Vodacom Stormers fans is that Van der Merwe reported a clean bill of health for his players.