All eyes on Blitzbok Senatla


Last season, the Springbok Sevens’ prolific try-scorer made two substitute appearances for the Stormers and collectively the two stints lasted less than 20 minutes.

On Saturday, he joins a Stormers line-up that has relied heavily on flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis to keep the scoreboard ticking over with penalties, won mainly from a world-class scrum. The few tries the Stormers have scored at an average of under two per game this season rarely comes from first-phase possession which means that unless there is a dramatic change in the way they play, Senatla is unlikely to be brought into play from this supply source.

During last season’s Currie Cup competition, Senatla set the scene alight mainly with his electrifying runs after securing turn-over ball. At Super Rugby level, turn-overs could at a premium because teams are so much more adept at looking after possession and play is far more structured than Currie Cup rugby.

However, a magic touch or two from Senatla could provide the Stormers with a game-changing moment on Saturday and coach Allister Coetzee is excited about his inclusion.

“He has something that you can’t coach and take away, and that is his blistering pace and he is a good finisher,” said Coetzee.

“Seabelo brings extra pace on counter attacks and he can run off people. His scanning ability to take half gaps and his ability to chase and put receivers under pressure with his pace are valuable assets.”

Rebels coach Tony McGahan has pointed out that his team will have to guard against giving away penalties within kicking range.

“Whoever has got the ball controls field position and controls the referee,” said McGahan.

“The Stormers have got a couple of key components of their game.

“Their defence has been a strong part of what they have done over a long period of time. It’s a real strong part of their identity, the way they stop sides, put pressure on sides, turnover the ball and really physically put pressure on sides.

“Their scrum this year has been fantastic.

“Some of the attacking work through the centres has been really strong. They can play with the ball in hand. They can play nice and tight. And a good kicking game.”

After the Bulls’ defeat on Friday in New Zealand, the top spot on the SA Conference table is up for grabs. The Stormers, on 34 points, and the Lions, on 31 points, have opportunities on Saturday to overtake the Bulls. – ANA

Original source: All eyes on Blitzbok Senatla