Stormers give Roos license to poach

John Dobson says Evan Roos will be given the license to be a breakdown terrier for the DHL Stormers against a “desperate” Connacht side in Galway on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.

Roos has been shifted to openside flank as the DHL Stormers have brought Hacjivah Dayimani back into the starting lineup at No 8 in one of three changes from the side that beat Dragons at Newport.

With Deon Fourie out for the season and Nama Xaba missing the two-match tour due to injury, the Stormers experimented with the robust Willie Engelbrecht at openside last week.

Now Roos will get a shot to wear the Stormers N0 6 jersey for the first time in the Vodacom URC, having also shifted to blindside flank earlier this season.

“In our system, number six and number eight are very similar,” Dobson said. “Where we have made the mistake in the past, is switching players between eight and seven. One of our guys has to be wider, to defend in what we call the gate, with a centre and wing.

“We don’t ask Evan to do much there, especially on attack. With him and Deon, it’s very similar. They are carrying all the time, whether it’s off nine or 10. Evan wants the ball to make as many carries as he can. So Evan is more suited to play at number six than number seven.

“We also felt, looking back at last week, as well as Willie played, but with Nama and Deon injured we can make amazing defensive sets with huge double tackles, but the opposition still makes a wide pass and suddenly they get seven yards and the big forwards have got to go back 10 metres.

“We do need somebody who can get us that odd steal or commit a cleaner, just to slow things down. We defended really well last week, for the whole game, but we weren’t putting any pressure on their breakdown. Evan will have the license to put his head in and get his hands on the ball. That’s useful while we don’t have Deon or Nama.”

Depending on other results, the Stormers could seal a place in the URC’s top eight with a victory on Saturday, but Connacht, sitting in ninth-place, have built the game up as a cup final for their playoff hopes.

“This is going to be a really desperate Connacht team,” Dobson said. “They have this reputation of being the fourth province in terms of the love shown to them by the Irish rugby union.

“So they are real underdogs, fighters and scrappers. That’s without mentioning the stadium overhaul and the departing players.

“We know that we are going to have to be really intense at the start, but also really disciplined and not give them entry points, not just with conceding penalties, but also getting loose with our offloads.

“There is no question they are going to come out frenzied. But that could also work in our favour, but we have to be intense and disciplined.

“We are seeing that ‘do-or-die’ narrative over here. It’s got all the recipes of a good game.”

Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

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