Stormers name unchanged team for Chiefs showdown
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck was able to name an unchanged team for the first time in 2018 for Saturday’s clash against the Chiefs at Newlands.
Fleck rewarded the team after last week’s 29-17 home win over the Bulls‚ which kept the Stormers alive in the play-off hunt despite losing six games earlier in the campaign.
The Chiefs are similarly desperate to win after losing to the Jaguares at home last week and for both sides‚ they are treating every week as a knockout.
“Last week’s match was physical but we are very well prepared and were able to name an unchanged team‚ which is rare‚” Fleck said.
“We did things differently on Monday by taking the guys out of a rugby environment but we still had two good sessions knowing that the Chiefs have brought their top team and are targeting this game for a win.”
Centre JJ Engelbrecht‚ who started in the No 13 jersey for the first time last week‚ retains his place over EW Viljoen.
The latter was rested last week but after Engelbrecht’s strong performance he has lost his place and can’t even find space on the bench.
“JJ was good but in saying that this is a selection for the sake of the team because they played well against the Bulls‚” Fleck said.
“The fact that we could get some continuity for the first time played a role in the selection.
"It gives us confidence to be able to name the same team two weeks running‚ but there is no doubt EW will play a part again this season.
“We are still in a situation where we have to win every game and there is inspiration in that. But we have to be 10% better than we were last week.
“This is their fourth game in two years at Newlands. It feels like derby match. They have targeted this game to win and it’s always a cracking game.”
Captain Siya Kolisi believes that despite the Chiefs missing All Black openside Sam Cane for the clash‚ it wouldn’t necessarily make his‚ or the Stormers’ task any easier.
Cane has a rib injury and did not tour‚ but the likes of lock Brodie Retallick still loom as huge obstacles in the fifth meeting between the teams at Newlands since 2015.
“It doesn’t make my job easier because he is a big player for them‚” Kolisi said. “They have some other senior players that will inspire them such as Brodie and Liam Messam.”
15 SP Marais‚ 14 Dillyn Leyds‚ 13 JJ Engelbrecht‚ 12 Damian de Allende‚ 11 Raymond Rhule‚ 10 Damian Willemse‚ 9 Dewaldt Duvenage‚ 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 7 Kobus van Dyk‚ 6 Siya Kolisi (captain)‚ 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ 4 Chris van Zyl‚ 3 Wilco Louw‚ 2 Ramone Samuels‚ 1 Steven Kitshoff.
16 Scarra Ntubeni‚ 17 JC Janse van Rensburg‚ 18 Frans Malherbe‚ 19 Cobus Wiese‚ 20 Nizaam Carr‚ 21 Paul de Wet‚ 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis‚ 23 Seabelo Senatla.