The Vodacom Stormers prepare themselves for another tough challenge when they take on the Blues at Newlands on Saturday in a Vodacom Super 14 match.
The Blues lost heavily to the Bulls at Loftus last Saturday but the Stormers would not be fooled by that performance. Coach Rassie Erasmus pointed out that the Bulls this week will be a much different proposition with the return of All Blacks Jerome Kaino, Joe Rokocoko and Tony Woodcock to the starting lineup.
Isaia Toeava also left the field injured but is back in the team to torment the Stormers with his strong runs from the last line of defence.
Erasmus emphasized that this weekend’s game has nothing to do with the one of the previous week. “If you think of the names in the Blues team who didn’t start – Jerome Kano, Mealamu who only played for 60 minutes, Woodcock who didn’t start and Rokocoko who is back in the mix as well as Toeava who didn’t play the full game – only those five names make a helluva difference to their team.
“We are under no illusion that it is going to be a tough challenge.”
Despite the respect for the opposition Erasmus eyes a win. “Hopefully we will win this game. That is what we are trying to do every week. But I think it would be arrogant to look to our previous performances and say we are the favourites. Last week we didn’t play well during the last 15 minutes. We are expecting a tough challenge form them.”
Captain Jean de Villiers said the team trained well the past week. “I think after the game on Friday (against the Reds) we were definitely disappointed that we didn’t get the bonus point but in retrospect we did get the win. We went through the game (during the video session) and we weren’t that bad.
“We had so many opportunities we just didn’t finish off. If we can create against the Blues and take our chances then we will be in with a chance for the win. We know it is going to be one hell of a challenge.
“They are a quality side, but we are not going to look at the Bulls game and think it is going to happen again. But we will definitely be up for it this weekend.”
Teams for Newlands: Vodacom Stormers: Percy Montgomery, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers(captain), Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Luke Watson, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits and JD Moller.
Substitutes: Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw, AJ Venter, Francois Louw, Bolla Conradie, Nick Koster and Willem de Waal.
Blues: Isaia Toeava, Joe Rokocoko, Anthony Tuitavake, Jamie Helleur, Paul Williams, Tasesa Lavea, Taniela Moa, Jerome Kaino, Josh Blackie, Justin Collins, Anthony Boric, Kurtis Haiu/Chris Lowrey, John Afoa, Keven Mealamu (captain) and Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailau, Chris Lowrey/Dean Budd, Peter Saili, Chris Smylie, Michael Hobbs and Winston Stanley.