Stormers name team to face Bulls



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Beleaguered Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has turned to the old war horses AJ Venter and Willem de Waal to revive his side’s flagging Super 14 fortunes by naming them in the run-on XV to play the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Venter and 31-year De Waal, who have not had any Super 14 action yet this season, are coming into the side at a time when the pressure to restore their dented image is enormous.

But Erasmus is backing their experience rather than their questionable match fitness to stand them in good stead in the Bullring. De Waal is one of the better kickers in domestic rugby and is totally reliable as a place-kicker.

However, he cannot match the first-choice flyhalf for sending his line away at speed, while both are equally adept at defending their channel.

The choice of De Waal might suggest that the Stormers will be geared for a kicking game, and if that ploy materialises there will be less chance of handling errors, which has bugged the Western Cape franchise this season. One does not know what to make of Venter’s choice because he cannot be expected to be an improvement on lock Adriaan Fondse, both in the line-out and in the tight exchanges.

If Erasmus wanted to bring Venter into the starting line-up, it might have been a better idea to play lock Andries Bekker off the bench. Nowadays, Bekker spends half the match in the backline along with other forwards like hooker Schalk Brits and flanker Duane Vermeulen.

The Bulls have surprised everyone this season with their ability to play an effective kicking game and, with this in mind, Erasmus has opted for Nick Koster on the leftwing instead of Fijian Sireli Naqelevuki. Percy Montgomery (he’ll be turning 35 in a few days time) retains his place in the absence of injured fullback Conrad Jantjes.

He showed last week that he has lost a fair amount of pace but he’ll still be worth his weight in gold, especially when the side has its back to the wall.

There’s no relief for the Stormers in respect of injuries to frontrow players and JD Moller is the latest to join the list of ‘walking wounded’. The young Wicus Blaauw will take his place while tighthead Brian Mujati looks like he’s overcome his neck injury.

There is still concern about the calf injury of Schalk Burger and he’ll undergo a fitness test later in the week.

Eighthman Luke Watson has been retained for the clash at Loftus, where he’s likely to feel the wrath of the fans following his alleged comments about “Dutchmen” and the Springbok jersey a few months ago.


The Stormers team is:


Percy Montgomery, Tonderai Chavhanga, Gcobani Bobo, Jean De Villiers , (capt.), Nick Koster, Willem De Waal, Ricky Januarie, Luke Watson, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger, Andries Bekker, AJ Venter, Brian Mujati, Schalk Brits, Wicus Blaauw.

Replacements: Deon Fourie, Schalk Ferreira, Adriaan Fondse, Francois Louw Dewaldt Duvenage, Peter Grant, Sireli Naqelevuki.

Sapa –

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