JON CARDINELLI picks his Stormers XV for the Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes at Newlands.
The Stormers have sustained relatively few setbacks during the pre-season as far as injuries are concerned. They should go into their opening match on Saturday with a strong squad that features seven World Cup-winning Springboks and a former British & Irish Lions centre.
The hosts must target the Hurricanes at the set pieces. They shouldn’t want for power or synergy considering that five of their forwards featured – and dominated – against England in last year’s World Cup final.
Jaco Coetzee made an impact from No 8 last season. The Stormers need to persist with the versatile loose forward in this position, especially against teams like the Hurricanes that are particularly strong on the ground.
The back-row combination of Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Coetzee boasts a good balance on attack and defence. These three players should be tasked with containing their Hurricanes counterparts and ultimately limiting the Kiwis’ counter-attacking chances.
Jamie Roberts arrived in Cape Town last Wednesday. He hasn’t had much time to adapt to the sweltering conditions or learn the Stormers’ calls and systems.
That said, one would expect to see him fronting a Hurricanes attack that’s likely to include a battering ram in Ngani Laumape. If coach John Dobson backs Roberts to start, this match-up in midfield will be game-shaping.
I’m looking forward to watching Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse in tandem. They should have the advantage of front-foot ball on Saturday, given the strength and quality of the Stormers pack.
Over time, they will benefit from Roberts’ input and sharpen their decision-making skills accordingly. It will be interesting to see how Willemse gels with Roberts this weekend.
The Stormers team to play the Hurricanes will be announced on Thursday.
Cardinelli’s call – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix