The Stormers may utilise big No 8 Robbie Diack at lock forward again after his second-half performance in the second row against the Blues during last weekend’s Super 14 rugby.
Gary Gold, one of the assistant coaches, confirmed on Tuesday that the Stormers were looking at an all-rounder’s role for Diack.
Stephen Nell of Die Burger writes that after moving to the second row during the match in Auckland last Saturday, Diack could well find himself at lock when the Stormers play the Western Force in Perth on Friday.
Gold said on Tuesday Diack had proved himself as an outstanding No 8 and he would be considered as a loose forward again.
“But we are looking, as with (hooker) Schalk Brits who operates at No 8 sometimes, at the advantage we may derive from versatility.
“Versatile players give us more options on the reserve bench. We could for example have two loose forwards or even two props on the bench,” Gold explained.
He added that Diack’s size – 1.95m and 118kg – and style of playing made it possible for him to play at lock.
“In the modern game, your locks have to play more like flankers. You don’t select the Kobus Wiese type of lock any longer because the pace is so much faster now.
“The ball is in play for six to eight minutes longer during a match. The emphasis is on mobility,” he said, adding that Diack was also a good jumper at the front of the lineout.
Important to be consistent
The Force won’t be as physically intense as the Blues were, allowing the Stormers to field the athletic Andries Bekker and Ross Skeate at lock. Adriaan Fondse and Diack could be among the substitutes.
“We certainly are considering playing Ross and Andries together,” Gold said. “It makes sense to rotate players and we must use the relative lack of injuries in the squad to our advantage.
“It’s also important to be consistent. (Former Springbok coach) Jake White underlined the value of consistency when his team won the World Cup last year.”
Gold feels victory over the Force will put the Stormers in a favourable position before they start a run of five successive home matches.
“We drew good crowds to our last two matches before we came on tour. If we win on Friday, we will ensure we get that type of support again.”
The Force play a type of game similar to that of the Stormers, says Gold. They also like to move the ball and they are good in the tight phases.
They also have good tactical kickers in Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and Cameron Shepherd.
“We have done our homework. Their opponents do score tries but they (the Force) have the ability to beat you at the finish by scoring more points.”
Gold confirmed that Springbok hooker Tiaan Liebenberg was expected to be in the Stormers squad for Friday.
Liebenberg returned home injured before the Stormers played the Reds but has regained fitness and may rejoin the squad if an injured player goes home.
Versatile back Joe Pietersen has a hamstring injury but Brits has recovered from a groin problem.
Gold said former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown had already had a positive influence on the team since joining the Stormers last week.Tweet