A win against the Highlanders at Newlands this afternoon could be crucial if his team are to remain in the race for the Super Rugby play-oﬀs, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck believes.
The Stormers sprung a surprise with their gutsy 19-19 draw against the Crusaders last week, and Fleck was hoping it would be the turning point of their season.
“We played against a team who are on top of the standings and a team who probably only lost about three games over the last three years,” Fleck said.
“We are only six points behind [in the SA conference], and while we only got two points from the Crusaders game, it’s better to be six behind than eight.”
Fleck showed continuity in his team selection this week by an- nouncing only one change, with Scarra Ntubeni being introduced at hooker in the place of Bongi Mbonambi, who injured his quad last week, and the Stormers were hoping to enjoy a good run at the business end of the competition.
The Highlanders could prove to be a real threat, however, with captain Aaron Smith and ﬂyhalf Josh Ioane at the centre of their attacking game, and they gave the Lions a few frights before going down 38-29 last week in a contest which was tighter than the scoreboard suggested.
Making their ﬁrst visit to Cape Town in more than ﬁve years, the tourists arrived in the Mother City on the back of three-successive victories over the Stormers, but all those games were played in Dunedin, and the hosts were conﬁdent ahead of Saturday’s ﬁxture.
“We have three from four at home and the only away game is against the Lions at Ellis Park, which we could win if we continue to play like we did last weekend,” Fleck said.
Flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is set to reach a career milestone by earning his 50th Stormers cap.
Stormers: Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, JJ Engelbrecht, Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds, Josh Stander, Herschel Jantjies, Jaco Coetzee, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Cobus Wiese, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff. Bench: Chad Solomon, Corne Fourie, Wilco Louw, Kobus van Dyk, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Dan Kriel.