Jean de Villiers is in bed with flu, Bolla Conradie has flu symptoms and Ross Skeate has a stomach bug, but Rassie Erasmus sees a positive in all of this.
Stephen Nell writes for Die Burger that Stormers captain Jean de Villiers remained in bed on Wednesday, battling to recover from a bout of flu that hampered his team’s preparations for the Super 14 rugby match against the Highlanders on Saturday.
And to make matters worse, scrumhalf Bolla Conradie and lock Ross Skeate were also not feeling well.
It’s a tough week,” Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said. “Jean is in bed, Bolla has a touch of flu and Ross has a stomach bug.”
As had often happened shortly before an important match between South African and New Zealand teams, a virus (remember Suzie) started causing problems this week.
However, Erasmus saw a positive side. “The main thing is that there is a stronger focus among the players. Sometimes little problems make one more focussed on the task ahead.
“This may be of some help, but there is some concern,” he conceded.
Another positive is that the match will be played at Newlands. “One gets goose-flesh when you run out on that ground. It lifts the players,” Erasmus said.
Five points behind
“We feel the pressure but it’s more difficult for the Highlanders.”
With the Stormers fourth on the log and on course for a semi-final berth, more than 40 000 spectators are expected at the match.
De Villiers and his men are only five points behind the second-placed Sharks and a home semi-final is not out of the question.
Erasmus has made six changes to his starting lineup. Two are behind the scrum, where Conradie takes over from Ricky Januarie and former All Black flyhalf Tony Brown gets an opportunity in the run-on team.
Brown, who has turned out for the Stormers as a replacement on occasion, played 83 matches for the Highlanders when he was based in Dunedin.
Erasmus does not feel that Brown will derive any extra motivation from playing against his former team.
“The Highlanders do not have the same structures that they had when he played for them. And he does not have to prove anything to anyone any longer,” Erasmus said.Tweet