Stormers look to friends to inspire them against the Sharks
The Stormers will look to friends for inspiration as they aim to give a poor season a sliver of respectability by beating the Sharks at Newlands this weekend.
Out of the play-off race‚ the Stormers need to find motivation from somewhere and assistant coach Paul Feeney says they will find it by giving departing players a proper send off.
No 8 Nizaam Carr‚ scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage‚ prop JC Janse van Rensburg and wing Raymond Rhule are all moving on at the end of the current campaign.
“It won’t be hard to get up for this game. It’s a good old-fashioned derby against the Sharks‚” Feeney said.
“It’s also our last game as a group‚ in front of our fans.
"And although things haven’t gone as well as we would’ve liked this season‚ we have people leaving‚ people who are important to this group‚ so the boys would like to show how important they are by performing well.
“Nemo (Nizaam Carr) has played 97 games for the Stormers‚ Dewies (Dewaldt Duvenage) has played 92 and JC Janse van Rensburg has played over 90 Super Rugby games and has a major influence on people on and off the field.
“When you look at those three and also Raymond Rhule‚ who has only been here a year‚ the guys have lots to play for to send the off properly.
“It should be enough to motivate the players to perform better. Loyalty is a big thing in this group because we got to know each other pretty well‚ and we’ll be more motivated than the Sharks.”
Flyhalf JP du Plessis‚ who missed most of the campaign while recovering from groin and hip surgery‚ watched rival Damian Willemse blossom into a top player.
But Willemse is on the injury list and Du Plessis‚ who played a couple of games before the June break‚ has a chance to show his worth again.
"Damian has played immensely well considering his age‚” the 24-year-old Du Plessis said.
"Guys like Dewaldt Duvenage and Damian de Allende around him definitely helped‚ but I think for a 19-year-old having started all of the games this season and having performed well so hats off to him.
"I'm sure he's chomping at the bit to get back for the Currie Cup. It'll be good for Western Province and there will be some good competition to flyhalf."
Du Plessis admitted that he wasn’t at 100 per cent fitness after cracking a rib in March‚ soon after his comeback.
At one stage he was on the Springbok periphery‚ but he has fallen down the pecking order with Handré Pollard’s return to fitness and Robert du Preez’s elevation to Test player this year.
The pair‚ who were Stormers teammates in 2017‚ will go head-to-head on Saturday.
"It'll take a while to get that match fitness and that rhythm again‚ but I’m getting there." Du Plessis said
"The [Bok] flyhalf stocks are in a better place than they were maybe two years ago. A lot of guys have come through quite nicely now and have been getting opportunities.
"I'm looking forward to coming up against Robert [Du Preez]. He and I are good mates off the field.
"We know each other quite well and I'm sure it will be one of the battles that will be important to the result."