Stormers coach John Dobson expects the Bulls to be better at Newlands
He may not have thought an awful lot of what he saw of the Bulls last week but Stormers coach John Dobson is expecting them to be better at Newlands on Saturday.
For Dobson the clash could serve the dual purpose of building on the momentum created last week when his team subdued‚ if not emasculated‚ the Hurricanes 27-0 and it will present them the opportunity to rub their traditional rivals’ noses deeper into the mud.
“It wasn’t a great game of rugby to watch‚ to be honest‚” said Dobson of the Bulls’ defeat to the Sharks in Durban last Friday.
“They made a lot more mistakes than I thought.
"There were a lot of resets. They will be a threat at scrums. And their kicking game with Morne (Steyn) is substantial‚” warned Dobson.
It is as if he is bracing his team for the prospect of the Bulls being an improved team this week.
They are certainly in for a far sterner physical confrontation.
And if the Bulls are going to be better‚ who’s to say Dobson’s team will hit the high notes they achieved last week.
Already he has been pushed into two significant changes with Johan du Toit and Scarra Ntubeni having to fill the boots of Rugby World Cup winners Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi.
Du Toit however will be in illustrious company with brother and world player of the year Pieter-Steph to hold his hand in the backrow.
The Stormers will really lament the absence of Mbonambi against his former team.
Ntubeni comes into a front row in which tighthead prop Frans Malherbe will celebrate his 100th Super Rugby game.
Dobson has again opted for a six/two split on a much shuffled bench.
Cobus Wiese‚ Juarno Augustus and Jean-Luc du Plessis returning from injury and Chad Solomon set to make his first appearance of the season.
“We know there are some areas in which we can make a step up and we are expecting a hugely physical challenge on Saturday‚ so we cannot afford to lose focus.
“The atmosphere at Newlands last week was incredible and we are looking forward to another opportunity to play in front of our supporters in a big derby‚ we are determined to make the most of what will be another great opportunity.
“This will be the last North-South Super Rugby derby at Newlands‚ so it will be another piece of history for the rugby-mad people of this region‚” he said.
Stormers team to play the Bulls:
Dillyn Leyds; Sergeal Petersen‚ Ruhan Nel‚ Jamie Roberts‚ Seabelo Senatla; Damian Willemse‚ Herschel Jantjies; Johan du Toit‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Jaco Coetzee; Chris van Zyl‚ Salmaan Moerat; Frans Malherbe‚ Scarra Ntubeni‚ Steven Kitshoff.
Chad Solomon‚ Ali Vermaak‚ Wilco Louw‚ Cobus Wiese‚ Ernst van Rhyn‚ Juarno Augustus; Godlen Masimla‚ Jean-Luc du Plessis.