Stormers captain Jean de Villiers says that his team will still attempt to move the ball wide and go for tries despite the possibility of wet weather for Saturday’s Super 14 clash against the Hurricanes at Newlands.
The Stormers turned their season around on tour when they attacked from the first whistle with more purpose than in their first three matches in South Africa.
Now they intend continuing on that path despite the possible bad weather in what has become a crucial game against the Hurricanes in their charge for a semifinal berth. The latest weather forecast is a 60 percent chance of showers for Saturday.
“I don’t think the first few weeks were so bad that we just wanted to play tight,” De Villiers said after practice in Durbanville.
“It was more about us wanting to get our structures in place, particularly on defence. We worked really hard on that, and that’s why we have been able to concentrate on our attack in the last few weeks.
“(But) we have a good combination at the moment. Rain brings other challenges to the party, so we will have to adapt a bit. But there will be opportunities to score tries. We will still try to create opportunities and then we just need to finish off.
“We will definitely take fewer risks and we will adjust our approach slightly, but at the end of the day it is still about creating opportunities and using those opportunities.”
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said on Wednesday that Cape Town’s unpredictable weather means that he is preparing the team for all eventualities and he was confident that his players could adapt accordingly.
“I think that the players we have can adapt to both styles of play. If it is really raining, our forward pack can do the thing,” he said.
“And if it is nice and dry for running rugby, we have been doing that in the last two to three games, so I don’t think we need heavy personnel changes if we want to change our game plan. The players can adapt pretty well, hopefully!
“A little drizzle makes it tough for you. Do you put your hands out to the ball and take it nice and solid? Or do you tuck it in and play a more conservative game?
“Sometimes you would rather want it to be really showering full out than a light drizzle. But it also depends on how much the wind is blowing. There are different challenges in every game. The nice thing about rain is that it is exactly the same for both teams.”
Erasmus named an unchanged line-up yesterday for the Hurricanes clash. He said that he had flirted with the possibility of rotating certain players. “It wasn’t easy because there are a lot of great players and talented guys and others who were in form and then got injured. So that was really bad luck for them,” he said.
“But I think that the bye week that we had two weeks ago made the decision to not rest or rotate players a little bit easier.”
JD Moller and Andries Bekker took a full part in training on Wednesday and have been declared fit to start on Saturday.
But there was some concern when star flank Schalk Burger left the training field halfway through the session and sat at the side of the field. Back-up flyhalf Tony Brown also missed the session, but Erasmus said both players would be fit to play.
“We are just at that stage of the competition where you get little niggling injuries,” he said. “I’m not quite sure what Schalk’s problem is at this stage, but it is just precautionary and it is the same with Tony.
“We just feel that the hard yards are being done on a Monday and Tuesday. So where we can rest a body or two, we try to. Schalk is not in danger of not playing on Saturday.”
Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean de Villiers (capt), Sireli Naqelevuki, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Luke Watson, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker, Adriaan Fondse, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits, JD Moller. Bench: Tiaan Liebenberg, Brok Harris, Ross Skeate, Robbie Diack, Bolla Conradie, Tony Brown, Gio Aplon.
By Ashfak Mohamed for IOLTweet