Storm­ers have to weather crazy con­di­tions

The Star Late Edition - - 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 Storm­ers will take part in the first-ever Su­per Rugby game to be played in Hong Kong when they face Jamie Joseph’s pack. And as ex­cit­ing as that may be, the Mong Kok Sta­dium isn’t go­ing to be the only “first” for the Capeto­ni­ans.

The weather con­di­tions they’ll face are 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. 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 are 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, which kick off later this month. 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,” Fleck said.

Storm­ers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Se­abelo Se­natla, 13 JJ En­gel­brecht, 12 Damian de Al­lende, 11 Dil­lyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 De­waldt Du­ve­nage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Pi­eter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl (cap­tain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ra­mone Sa­muels, 1 JC Janse van Rens­burg. Re­place­ments: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Carlu Sadie, 18 Frans Mal­herbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Sikhum­buzo Not­she, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 EW Viljoen.

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