Vodacom Stormers aiming to atone

PUBLISHED: March 10, 2006

The Vodacom Stormers know they need to lift the level of their game in all departments if they want to get back on the winning track.

The Stormers take on the Hurricanes in a Vodacom Super 12 match at Newlands on Saturday.

The Stormers are currently in ninth position on the points’ table with seven points after nine games. The Hurricanes are in second place with sixteen after four games – an indication of the daunting task awaiting the home team.

Coach Kobus van der Merwe certainly realises that his team need to start winning if they want to keep their slim hopes of a semi-final alive.

“We said it last week and we say it again this week: every game is a must win game. The next two obviously is very important,” he said.

“A 50 % win record at home is not ideal. Luckily we picked up an away game against the Cats. This game is going to be very important for our overseas campaign. The players certainly realize that after this week, so this is a must win game.”

The coach took a calculated gamble by including Springbok centre Marius Joubert at wing. Joubert made his first appearance on the field last week after he was out of the game for six months due to a lower back injury.

“Last week we said we want to give him 25 minutes, which we did. He played exactly 25 minutes last week and we hope to increase it to 40, 50 minutes this week and then give him a full game against the Cheetahs. That is what I said last week and that is still the plan.”

Van der Merwe admitted that selection is a gamble, but added that Joubert has enough talent and skill to make a success of his new position.

The Hurricanes are without the inspirational centre Tana Umaga, who went back home due to a knee injury. But Van der Merwe is still wary of them.

“They’ve got quality backs. It is unfortunate that Tana is not playing. I think De Wet would have love to square up to him again. He is a quality player and it is a big loss for them.

“But they do have quality backs and hopefully with De Wet and Jean and Marius there our outside backs have a lot more to offer on attack as well.”

Captain De Wet Barry promised a better performance than last week from his charges, particularly on defence.

“Maybe we didn’t properly execute our lines in defence and we didn’t help each other. That is something we worked on hard this week and it is not in our nature to lie down. We definitely are going to stand up and perform well on Saturday.

“We have been a side that has always showed a lot of commitment to the team, so that would again be the case.

“We would like to lift the intensity. We had a look at ourselves and we take responsibility for last weekend’s game and we want to change it over this weekend.”

Teams for Newlands:

Vodacom Stormers: 15 Werner Greeff, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 De Wet Barry (captain), 12 Jean De Villiers/Gus Theron, 11 Marius Joubert, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Adri Badenhorst, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker/Henk Eksteen, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.

Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 Neil Fullard, 18 Henk Eksteen/Gerrie Britz, 19 Justin Melck, 20 Neil de Kock, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Chumani Booi

Hurricanes: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Lome Fa’atau, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 David Holwell, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So’oialo (captain), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Paul Tito, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Joe McDonnell.

Replacements: 16 Luke Mahoney, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Luke Andrews, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Brendan Haami, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Shannon Paku

Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia).