Schalk Burger’s inclusion at No 8 is likely to be the only change to the Stormers’ starting lineup for their Super 14 rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Coach Rassie Erasmus is expected to retain most of the players who beat the Reds 34-16 in Brisbane last week when he announces his team on Wednesday.
However, Burger is available again after serving a two-week suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Stormers assistant coach Gary Gold, who had to return to Cape Town to attend to personal matters and will leave for Auckland again on Saturday, has indicated that Burger’s return will be a formality.
To make room for the Springbok flank, one of Robbie Diack or Francois Louw will have to stand down.
“We’ll keep Luke Watson in the team,” Gold said on Tuesday. “But as hard as the loose forwards worked against the Reds, some confidence is missing when Schalk is not there.
“He is, in particular, an inspiration to the younger players and he encourages them at critical times.”
News from New Zealand is that Burger, one of the best flank forwards in the world, is likely to play at No 8.
Springbok flank was brilliant
Coach Rassie Erasmus started the season with Watson at No 8 but the Springbok flank was brilliant when he returned to No 6 against the Reds and he may stay there this week.
Gold pointed out that Watson, in shining on the flank, also performed the classic linking role of an eighthman.
“Much of his good work was in general situations,” Gold said.
Gold feels the New Zealand referee, Chris Pollock, erred when he penalised Watson after the player had turned over possession in a tackle.
The lack of consistency among referees is a matter of concern, says Gold. “One guy’s free kick for negative tactics is another one’s yellow card.”
Fijian wing Sireli Naqelevuki is expected to retain his place in the Stormers team despite a poor performance against the Reds.
“Sireli needs more space,” Gold says. “He is receiving the ball in situations where there are too many defenders near him.”
The likely Stormers team: Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers (capt), Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Luke Watson, Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits, JD Moller.
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