Robbie Diack may get a chance to build on last week’s fine performance at No 8 when the Stormers meet the Reds in a Super 14 rugby match in Brisbane on Saturday.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Allister Coetzee, one of the squad’s assistant coaches, indicated in a call from Australia on Tuesday that Diack could be rewarded with a second successive appearance at eighthman.
Last week, when Luke Watson had flu and Schalk Burger was suspended, the Stormers started the match against the Crusaders with Pieter Myburgh and Francois Louw on the flanks and Diack at No 8.
Watson, according to Coetzee, is now “a hundred per cent fit.”
Coetzee feels Myburgh was not out of his depth in his Super 14 debut, Diack played well against the Crusaders and Louw is improving at No 7.
But the selectors will have to take a good look at Watson and Diack when they name the No 8 against the Reds.
Watson’s experience may be the deciding factor. The Springbok made his name at No 6 and former Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe even selected him ahead of Burger during the first year of Super 14 rugby.
Burger is still serving the second week of his suspension after being punished for unsportsmanlike behaviour in a match against the Sharks. He will return the moment he is available.
Close to winning
Watson did well at No 8 against the Bulls but was well marked when he wore the same jersey against the Sharks.
The Stormers may also look at Diack as a future blindside flank because of his ball-carrying talents.
For the rest, the team that last week scored the first zero in the Stormers’ history, will be largely retained.
“We are close to winning. And as soon as we win, the players will gain confidence,” Coetzee said.
“Compared with last year’s performances against the same teams, there has been an improvement. We’re winning battles but not the wars.”
After scoring one try in three matches and going 120 minutes without scoring a point, the Stormers have to sharpen their attacking game.
“Finishing is one of our major problems. The top teams grab their opportunities,” Coetzee acknowledged.
“This will happen if we retain our combinations. If players are not up to scratch after four of five weeks we can tell them they’ve had a fair chance.
“We have also paid attention to our game at breakdown points. We have to dominate at contact situations.”
Until former All Black Tony Brown arrives, the Stormers will retain Springbok Peter Grant at flyhalf.
“Peter is showing great improvement. We won’t drop him if we’re not certain we have a better player,” Coetzee explained.Tweet