Stormers coach John Dobson says he hopes his young guns can energise his team after their lacklustre display against the Vodacom Bulls last weekend. DYLAN JACK reports.
Dobson has given a quintet of youngsters an opportunity to impress in their next Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
Tighthead prop Neethling Fouche, lock David Meihuizen and flank Marcel Theunissen have all come into the starting lineup, while wing Angelo Davids will make his Stormers debut and scrumhalf Paul de Wet steps in for Herschel Jantjies, who misses the match on compassionate grounds.
For Dobson, the hope is that the youngsters are able to bring more energy to his side, after the Stormers’ listless performances against the Pumas in Nelspruit and, most recently, the Bulls in Pretoria.
‘Last week certainly wasn’t our most energetic performance,’ Dobson said. ‘So we want guys who can bring a lot of energy. We also have to build depth in the squad so we have identified a few guys who we can give opportunities to.
‘David is a guy who we can’t leave on the bench this whole tournament. As well as JD [Schickerling], Salmaan [Moerat] and Chris are going, Meihuizen has a massive future, he has a long-term deal with this union.
‘So we are trying to give some opportunities. Most important is the bounce-back and that is going to require energy. These guys are all going to bring energy in.
‘What we really cannot reward is a lack of effort. I can understand execution and errors or coaching or system errors, but not effort. We have to keep cognisant of that.’
Dobson added that, especially for Theunissen and Davids, there is an opportunity for them to show their worth in the starting lineup.
‘We are seeing it across all the franchises, that reputations are worth less and people are making some changes. We are going to have to do the same.
‘People say that we are Springbok-laden, but when we finished in Nelspruit, Warrick was the only one left on the field. We have to reward guys who can energise and produce now.
‘For David, at lock Salmaan and JD have been going really well. That’s probably not really an open door. That wouldn’t be fair on Salmaan or JD. But for the rest of them, it is wide open in that respect.
‘Guys like Angelo Davids or Marcel Theunissen, especially without Siya or Nama, there is a massive opportunity at no 6.
‘Both of them played in the U21 tournament and went up for four Saturdays or Sundays at 12pm or 1.30pm at Ellis Park in the heat. Those two were absolutely outstanding.
‘They brought energy and are being rewarded for that. It was a really tough competition. Angelo has got great work-ethic, chases kicks and he scored a couple of hat-tricks in the competition. Marcel ran the whole Ellis Park field in the heat so Kimberley should be fine for him.’
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