Brent Russell and Joe van Niekerk will get another chance to shake of their rustiness when they start for the Vodacom Stormers “second team” on Saturday and sit on the bench for the main game.
The Stormers tackle Boland with two teams at Faure Street Stadium in Paarl on Saturday. The first game starts at 16h30 and the main game at 18h00.
Springboks Russell and Van Niekerk started on Saturday against the Bulls at Loftus in the first warm-up game for the Super 14, but according to reports didn’t look quite ready for top level rugby.
Coach Kobus van der Merwe made four changes to the side that lost to the Bulls. Naas Olivier, who impressed when he replaced Russell, will be the flyhalf, with Robbie Diack, another to star as a substitute, will take over at No 8 from Van Niekerk.
Schalk Brits will start at hooker in place of Tiaan Liebenberg, with JD Moller taking over from Schalk Ferreira at loosehead prop. Brits had been out of rugby since August due to knee surgery. He saw some action against the Bulls as replacement though.
Van der Merwe said the objective with the shifting of Van Niekerk and Russell was to give them more game time. “I do it in order for them to first play 60 minutes and then 20 or 30 minutes in the next game.
“That will give them more game time,” the coach explained.
He said he was not too worried about Russell, who seemed a bit “rusty”. The coach said Russell did some nice things too.
“But we have to remember that he hasn’t played at flyhalf for three years now. He needs time to get used to the position again.
“Naas did very well when he came on. But we still have the Boland match this weekend to look at our options.”
VODACOM STORMERS TEAMS:
To play main game: Gio Aplon, Breyton Paulse, Corne Uys, Jean de Villiers, Conrad Jantjes, Naas Olivier, Bolla Conradie, Robbie Diack, Schalk Burger, Luke Watson (captain), Andries Bekker, Selborne Boome, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Brits, JD Moller. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Brok Harris, Ross Skeate, Gerrie Britz, Joe van Niekerk, JP Joubert, Brent Russell, De Wet Barry, Werner Greeff.
To play curtain-raiser: Werner Greeff, Sarel Potgieter, Dylan des Fountain, Peter Grant, Joe Pietersen, Brent Russell, Ashieq Wise, Joe van Niekerk, Pieter Louw, Justin Melck, Gerrie Britz, Francois van der Merwe, Brok Harris, Huia Edmonds, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Simon Westraad, Attie Winter, Stinkie Vermeulen, Jandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Isma-eel Dollie, Morgan Human, Terry Jacobs.