Stormers and Reds under equal pressure

2014-03-29 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The management team of the Stormers face changes as their embattled players prepare to face the Reds in Brisbane today.

From what could be learnt this week, the positions of the Stormers back line coach, Robbie Fleck and the team manager Chippie Solomon are in jeopardy. Gert Smal and Henning Gericke will probably be re-assigned as director of rugby and psychiatrist.

The team expect to have answers by next week, but fans are meanwhile wondering what impact, if any, the uncertainty will have on the player.

If the Stormers lose, the team will have reached a low point in its history, with four losses in away matches and only one win from six games.

The Cape fans are already more than fed up and the attendance at Newlands can dwindle if the Stormers do not deliver something special today — despite playing with their backs to the wall.

These are also the times that reveal how close the ties are between all the parties involved.

Despite the string of defeats to date, the Stormers have not yet reached that point where one can say that they are no playing for each other, their management or their brand.

And being the underdogs may help to provide the collective strength to achieve the improbable.

Another factor which may play a role in giving the Stormers fans something to cheer about is that the Reds are also under a lot of pressure — having lost three of five matches. Both teams will focus on putting pressure on the scrum halves, and the Wallaby’s pair Will Genia and Quade Cooper can expect as much pressure behind the scrums as Louis Schreuder and Peter Grant of the Stormers.

Reds: Lachie Turner, Rod Davies, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Beau Robinson, Eddie Quirk, James Horwill (k), Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, James Hanson, James Slipper. Replacements: Saia Fainga’a, Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O’Donoghue, Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby, Anthony Fainga’a, Ben Lucas.

Stormers: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (k), Sailosi Tagicakibau, Peter Grant, Louis Schreuder, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Jurie van Vuuren, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Oliver Kebble, Brok Harris, Tazz Fuzani, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Demetri Catrakilis, Jaco Taute.

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