Vodacom Stormers looking for good start

PUBLISHED: February 2, 2007

He is the Vodacom Stormers latest acquisition and clearly a man on a mission. Conrad Jantjes has a lot to prove and he feels Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs is a good one to start.

The Stormers and the Cheetahs clash in their opening Vodacom Super 14 match and the battle between the back threes could be decisive in the outcome of the match.

Jantjes this week admitted he doesn’t feel like a Stormer yet. The Springbok, who represented the Cats the last few seasons, didn’t see much action last year because of injury.

In the friendly against Boland he showed he has lost none of his appetite for the game and impressed coach Kobus van der Merwe.

“I don’t consider the match against the Bulls at Loftus as my debut for the Stormers,” Jantjes said. “To me it only like practice sessions with the intensity of a game. It’s not the real thing.”

Jantjes, who is at home at fullback too but who will be on the wing against the Cheetahs, explained: “I would like to play well in my debut against the Cheetahs and then I’m looking forward to my first match at Newlands.”

After the Boland match, Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe singled out Jantjes for his performance and said he was the best player on the field.

“Conrad scored a scintillating try, but what was even more impressive was the way in which he kept the ball alive and never went over the touchline,” said Van der Merwe.

He would expect more of the same from Jantjes on Saturday.

Van der Merwe expects the sparks to fly in Bloem. “It is always like this in local derbies. The physical aspect will always be there.”

Van der Merwe said his side would depend strongly on their game-breakers. “Our one area of strength is our game-breakers,” he added. “But our defence will have to be really strong to create opportunities.

“The opposition will want to make as few mistakes as possible, so that they can punish us. We have guys who can be devastating when it comes to the turnover.”

Teams for Bloemfontein:

Vodacom Stormers: Gio Aplon, Breyton Paulse, Corne Uys, Jean de Villiers, Conrad Jantjes, Naas Olivier, Bolla Conradie, Joe van Niekerk, Schalk Burger, Luke Watson (captain), Andries Bekker, Selborne Boome, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Brits, JD Moller. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Brok Harris, Ross Skeate, Gerrie Britz, Robbie Diack, JP Joubert, Brent Russell, De Wet Barry.

Vodacom Cheetahs: Tiger Mangweni, Phillip Burger, Marius Joubert, Meyer Bosman, Ronnie Cooke, Herkie Kruger, Falie Oelschig, Kabamba Floors, Juan Smith, Hendro Scholtz, Corniel van Zyl, Darron Nel, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Ollie le Roux. Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Wian du Preez, Bian Vermaak, Ryno van der Merwe, Michael Claasens, Willem de Waal, Eddie Fredericks.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Kick-off: 19:10.