Stormers have to weather crazy conditions
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.