Storm­ers aim to take con­trol

The Mercury - - SPORT - Wynona Louw

STORM­ERS coach Rob­bie Fleck has em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of con­trol­ling the game against the Sun­wolves right from the start as they’re ex­pect­ing to face “se­ri­ously chal­leng­ing” con­di­tions in Hong Kong to­mor­row (kick-off 7.15am).

The weather con­di­tions they’ll face is un­doubt­edly go­ing to be the tough­est they’ve en­coun­tered this year. With con­di­tions fore­cast at 32 de­grees and hu­mid­ity at 90 per­cent ac­cord­ing to re­ports, one of the big­gest storms Rob­bie Fleck’s charges will have to weather this week­end will be play­ing “on their terms” to get the much-needed win.

“The con­di­tions are more ex­treme than what we ex­pe­ri­enced in Sin­ga­pore (when they last played the Sun­wolves), it’s go­ing to be chal­leng­ing, so how we play is im­por­tant if we want to win this game,” Fleck said yes­ter­day.

“The con­di­tions are ac­tu­ally crazy, train­ing has been chal­leng­ing ... the guys have been putting ice in their boots. It’s 31 de­grees and the hu­mid­ity is quite radical, so it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see how both teams go.”

Fleck has made a cou­ple of changes for their sec­ond-last game be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break


In the back row, skip­per Siya Kolisi moves to the bench as his work­load is be­ing man­aged, while Kobus van Dyk is joined in the loose trio by Nizaam Carr and Cobus Wiese at No 8 and No 7 re­spec­tively. Sikhum­buzo Not­she will fea­ture off the bench.

Chris van Zyl will start at No 4 lock again and take over the cap­taincy, and in the front row JC Janse van Rens­burg comes into the run-on side at loose­head prop to re­place the in­jured Steven Kit­shoff, while Carlu Sadie and Jan de Klerk both get a spot among the re­place­ments.

In the back­line, Jean-Luc du Plessis will get his first start for the Storm­ers this sea­son af­ter com­ing off the bench in their last two fix­tures. Du Plessis takes over the No 10 jersey from Damian Willemse, who has joined the Ju­nior Boks for the World Rugby Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onships. Speed­ster Se­abelo Se­natla also comes into the start­ing XV, with cen­tre EW Viljoen re­turn­ing to ac­tion on the bench af­ter be­ing rested for two games.

With fa­tigue likely to visit early, Fleck said that he’s likely to ring the changes early on to keep fresh legs on the field through­out the en­counter.

“The bench are go­ing to have to play a ma­jor role and they’ll prob­a­bly come on early. The one we se­lected is an ex­cit­ing bench and they can make a real im­pact. Ev­ery­one is go­ing to have to play their role,” Fleck said of his selec­tions.

While the Storm­ers chief said that they’re not plan­ning on de­vi­at­ing from their style or how they want to play, he added that they’re go­ing to have to be “tac­ti­cally smart” and “play to their strengths” to­mor­row.


“We don’t want to slow the game down or any­thing like that, but I think it’s go­ing to be a real tac­ti­cal game for both teams if the con­di­tions are the way they are. The game is played at one, so tac­ti­cally we’re go­ing to have to be re­ally smart in that hu­mid­ity.

“We’re go­ing to have to be pretty smart tac­ti­cally. We need to play it on our terms and we need to con­trol the game from the out­set. We need to play to our strengths.

“Like we said last week, we cer­tainly have to win ev­ery game go­ing for­ward.”

The Storm­ers and the Sun­wolves could pos­si­bly serve another Su­per Rugby first this sea­son – a full sta­dium.

The Mong Kok Sta­dium – which nor­mally hosts Hong Kong Premier League foot­ball matches – has a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of only 6 769, and given that it’s Su­per Rugby’s de­but in Hong Kong, we could see quite a turnout.

And it’s a pos­si­bil­ity that Fleck is look­ing for­ward to.

“When these small sta­di­ums are packed they tend to have a great at­mos­phere and a great vibe.”

Fleck also said that the Sun­wolves pose a num­ber of threats, threats that could – com­bined with the con­di­tions – make it a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon if the Storm­ers don’t bring their A-game.­cury TheMer­curySA Mer­cpic TheMer­curySA

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