Willem de Waal is set to keep his place in the Stormers’ starting line-up for Saturday’s Super14 rugby match against the Lions at Newlands.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that it was widely anticipated that Peter Grant would return to the No 10 jersey this week after De Waal started last week’s 10-14 defeat to the Bulls. However, Die Burger has reliably learned that De Waal will again be the pivot after a solid performance on Saturday.
De Waal’s tactical kicks had the Stormers on the front foot for long periods against the Bulls and a host of second half substitutes, including Grant, almost produced an upset win.
“It’s no longer about how the Stormers win and whether they get the bonus point. They just have to get some confidence,” said former Stormers and Springbok flyhalf Braam van Straaten.
“They looked significantly better on Saturday and with a little bit of luck could have beaten the Bulls. It was a good performance away from home. The Stormers certainly don’t need to be deflated. They have played only four games.”
However, the Stormers cannot afford a fourth defeat on Saturday. And that is why coach Rassie Erasmus may decide to play a little conservatively at first before returning to the attacking ways of earlier in the competition.
Van Straaten said he would pick Grant if dry conditions are expected, but would not lose any sleep if Erasmus did pick De Waal.
“It’s no longer about playing the ball wide, but to win at all costs. Rassie and Willem have achieved success together. He sees Willem through different eyes,” said Van Straaten.
“With the ELVs as they are you don’t get so many penalties. That is why you have to ensure the ones you get can be converted into points. I still believe a kicker can make or break a side. Willem plays a little more conservatively. He will put pressure on the opponent with his kicking boot. He also distributes well. Peter plays on the advantage line. He is a little more physical and keeps the opponent guessing. I would have both involved with the Springboks. I believe they can come into their own at that level. Both play a specific role and they are very good flyhalves. Willem should have been a Springbok a few years ago. He was very unlucky not to achieve it. At one stage he hardly missed a kick at goal. Willem was calm and collected in the Currie Cup finals he played in. That kind of experience does a lot for a player,” continued Van Straaten.
Springbok flank Schalk Burger is expected to return to the starting line-up, while Sireli Naqelevuki is set to replace Tonderai Chavhanga on the wing.Tweet