Siya ready to do battle as Pieter-Steph returns

Sean Everitt says Siya Kolisi is primed and ready to take on his former teammates when the Stormers host the Sharks on Saturday.

READ: Kolisi starts in powerful Sharks side

The clash at Cape Town Stadium will be the first proper competitive start for the Springbok captain since he returned from injury in the Preparation Series.

It’s been a long road for Kolisi who struggled to find form earlier in the year, but Everitt believes that he’s ready now to make a mark.

‘When Siya arrived at the Sharks he was under a lot of pressure and he’s stood up to it. He’s trained extremely hard. You will have seen in the Bulls game [during the Preparation Series] that he made some telling contributions that show he has made the step up.

‘From a conditioning perspective he’s made massive improvements, so we’re happy with where he is now.’

One key battleground for Saturday’s game will undoubtedly be the back row, with the Stormers likely to field Pieter-Steph du Toit.

‘I know Pieter-Steph will be playing flank for them, so it’s going to be an equal battle to begin with. We’ve also got a dynamic loose trio with Siya, Notshe and Henco Venter and they bring a lot of experience.’

Up front, the Sharks boast plenty of quality where Springboks Ox Nche and Thomas du Toit will look to overcome the power of the Stormers’ front row.

‘With Ox and Thomas in the Springbok fold, along with Fez Mbatha, who must be knocking on the door, it’s a formula we’ll try to grow on its own.

‘With their pack at full strength the challenge will come at scrum and lineout time. But when we last played them, the try that won it for us came from a turnover scrum against them.’

The match will be many of the Sharks’ first at Cape Town Stadium, a challenge their coach is embracing.

‘I’ve never been inside the stadium. I’ve never even been there for the sevens tournament, and the only guy with a bit of experience is Werner Kok.

‘It is a new experience for us, but our players enjoy being in a new environment. It’s one of the reasons we tour so well. We’d like to put our marker down at Cape Town Stadium, like we did at Newlands.’

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images