Cape Town - The Stormers are expecting the Chiefs to throw the kitchen sink at them in Saturday’s Super Rugby showdown at Newlands so it’s a good thing they are likely to have their regular captain to guide them off the side of the scrum.
Siya Kolisi came off just under half an hour from the end of last weekend’s derby win over the Bulls and said his ankle injury was similar to a previous setback that kept him out of rugby for an extended period.
However, the Stormers camp have reported that the likeable Springbok is expected to be ready for the clash with the Kiwi team.
“Siya looks good to go and for a change it looks like we have come out of a big game unscathed,” said assistant coach Paul Feeney as the Stormers got stuck into their preparations for the Chiefs game on a cold and wet Tuesday afternoon at their High Performance Centre in Parow.
Head coach Robbie Fleck will name his team on Thursday and he has close to a full complement of players to choose from, with the only continued absentees from the contracted squad being JD Schickerling, Jano Vermaak (both of whom are still sidelined from training) and the Bok forward pair of Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi (back in training but not available as yet).
With Jean-Luc du Preez set to play a bigger role off the bench this week as the Stormers prepare to lose the dazzling talent of flyhalf Damian Willemse to the Junior Bok challenge at the Junior World Championship, the added depth has put the Stormers in a good space.
They will need to have all hands on deck though as the Chiefs have made it clear Saturday’s game at Newlands is one they have earmarked for a massive effort.
“The Chiefs will be all in, boots and all, and this will be the big game of their tour because they will be losing their All Black players to a north island training camp the following week. They will be going to Durban to play their next game under strength so they will be throwing everything into beating us,” said Feeney, who is a New Zealander himself and was part of the Blues coaching staff before moving to Cape Town a year and a half ago.
“They weren’t at full strength when they lost to the Jaguares last week either. I read a report that Coops (Chiefs coach Colin Cooper) wanted to rest Brodie Retallick for the Jaguares game because of the way he plays his rugby. The message was that he wanted Retallick to be as fresh as possible for our game. That is an indication of how much emphasis they are putting on the Newlands match.”
The Chiefs may have underestimated the Jaguares and it backfired on them, which won’t help the Stormers, who are rightly expecting a moody response from the team from Hamilton.
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