Luke Watson cannot wait to run out at Newlands on Friday night in his debut for the Investec Stormers.
The fact that the flank last year played his Super 12 rugby for the opponents on the night, the Sharks, just ads spice to the occasion. Watson this week said he was keen to slot into the Stormers team and pattern of play as soon as possible and that his focus would be on a good performance rather then his former teammates.
He warned his new teammates that the Sharks, who this week left out AJ Venter and included their regular captain, John Smit, only on the bench, could be up to their old tricks.
“You got to take into consideration that Kevin Putt, for the majority of the time he’s been there, has always been the type of guy who puts forward one team and plays another team on the weekend. So he is always full of games and he is always full of little plans and ploys.
“But I think if they don’t have AJ Venter and John Smit in their team it is a real setback for them, especially with the team they’ve got now. There are a lot less experienced guys, especially on the loose trio, guys who haven’t really been together as units or partners for some time.”
He said both Smit and Venter are experienced, not only as players, but also as leaders. “The Sharks will miss them, particularly in the leadership department. John is a very, very good leader and more importantly there is nobody to fill his shoes.
“Both AJ and John play a major role there and without them it will be a big knock for the Sharks.”
Watson doesn’t think the Stormers would want to capitalize on the fact that Venter is absent and Smit on the bench. “Well, I think we want to capitalize on anything, whatever team they field we are going out there to win.
“They can field any team in the world; our main priority is to win. We want to capitalize on any weaknesses and advantages we can get. I think any team that they will field will be a very motivated and enthusiastic team.”
Watson can expect a rough time on the field, but he is not too bothered by that. “In rugby these days you get niggles in any game you play. You get the teams that are rather famous for their niggles and the teams that misplace their knees and fists and boots whenever they can.
“But I don’t think the Sharks are one of those teams. You can expect a few chirps and maybe a few nudges and bumps here and there. But it’s all in a game of rugby.”
The tough-as-teak flanker said he would consider it rather unprofessional and to a certain extent immature to approach the Sharks game in any other way than any other game.
“If you start getting emotional about certain things and if you start to get carried away by personal grudge matches, your focus is taken away from the Stormers, from your team and your role as a player.
“I must be honest I am not approaching this game differently to any other game. It is going to be just another Super 12 game where you got to go out there and perform your best and do your job.
“My main job and function at the moment is to try and really fit into the Stormers structure, their pattern and game style and give the team any advantages I can bring on the field. But to be honest, I am not approaching this game in any other game.”