Stormers defence coach Norman Laker is confident Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla can cope with the Sharks’ dangerous back three. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Stormers were back in full training on Monday following their bye week, when they were licking their wounds from their first loss of the season to the Blues at Newlands.
With that defeat in the past, the Stormers are looking to get back to winning ways as they travel to Durban to take on the high-flying Sharks, who themselves have enjoyed excellent start to this year.
In particular, the Sharks have thrived off turnover ball, which they often create with a well-executed kick-and-chase through Springbok wings Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi.
It was interesting to note that Damian Willemse lined up at fullback during shadow training on attack and defence on Monday, with Jean-Luc du Plessis at flyhalf and Dillyn Leyds on the wing, while Sergeal Petersen sat out.
Whether that is how the Stormers intend to go into Saturday’s match is still not clear, as Laker spoke up both Senatla and Petersen ahead of the coastal derby.
‘We have been good in the air, with Seabelo, Sergeal and Dillyn Leyds at the back. So I wouldn’t say that is a weakness of ours. The Sharks contest hard with the ball in the air to get those turnovers. We saw in the game against the Jaguares. The first 14 points was just off contestables that they have won back. It will be a good challenge for Sergeal and Seabelo.
‘They have a good back three which finds holes that not a lot of others can find. They like to move the ball around at the park. We are trying to fix what went wrong against the Blues and have a few plans for that.
‘It is a big ask,’ Laker admitted. ‘But the guys that we have are just as good. Two of them are Springboks, while the other is a gold medalist. It will be good for us to play against them and measure our strengths against theirs. If they play well, they might get a call-up in June, so it is a good challenge for our guys.’
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images