The Cape side’s coach Allister Coetzee said that he will play his best possible team for the clash against the Cheetahs, after also selecting a full-strength team against the Rebels.
Only flank Schalk Burger will be given the weekend off as part of the franchises’ agreement with SA Rugby. Burger must still sit out one more game after this weekend, while captain Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth must also rest for one more match. Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe still has to be rested for two matches.
However, Malherbe missed the first few weeks with injury, and it seems he will play in the remaining three matches as the Stormers go in search of the South African Conference title and second position on the overall standings.
But this could all change if the current second-placed team and the leaders in the Australian conference, the Waratahs, beat the Lions and the Cheetahs with bonus points over the next two weeks, and the Stormers just beat the Cheetahs and the Lions. Second place would then probably be out of reach for the Stormers, but they would have wrapped up the SA Conference. This would then allow Coetzee to rest most of his big players ahead of the playoffs.
“We want to make sure that we stay in contention, and to do that you have to play your best team. We want to consolidate, because we just have to win and then we should be fine,” Coetzee told the media yesterday.
“Frans started late, and he is currently playing his best rugby. We have an agreement and I’m mindful of the fact that he has to rest twice. If he doesn’t get the opportunity to rest twice, I don’t think it will be a train smash for him personally.
“It will get clearer for me after this weekend. It’s difficult to say we want to rest him for a certain game. We want to see where we are in the competition, and then we will make arrangements according to that.
“Nowhere does it say the resting plan is a compulsory thing. But our plan and relationship with the player ... we want to look after the well-being of the player so that there aren’t players over-reaching and burning out.”
The Stormers have hurt Western Province’s Vodacom Cup team ahead of their final at Newlands by calling up exciting flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe to come in as cover for Burger.
Notshe, who will start off the bench for the Stormers, has been outstanding for WP. The Cape Times understands that the Stormers also wanted Jaco Taute for this weekend, but in the end it was agreed that the big centre will play in the final.
Notshe probably would have taken part in the final if Michael Rhodes was fit, but the big Stormers loose forward may return for next week’s match against the Lions, along with lock Ruan Botha and winger Kobus van Wyk.
“Jaco trained with us, and attended our morning meeting. But he will play in the Vodacom Cup final this weekend,” Coetzee said. “We have to juggle the cards to benefit both teams. But Super Rugby is important for the franchise and we have to make sure that we select our best possible side.”
Nizaam Carr will come in for Burger this weekend. After featuring at No 6 over the last few years, and at the start of the campaign when Vermeulen was at No 8, Carr will be employed to carry the ball against the Cheetahs and to link up with the backline.
Carr hasn’t had the best of seasons, largely due to a viral infection during the pre-season, but he remains an extremely talented rugby player who has the ability to create that magic moment.
Burger has been playing that linking role over the last month with Siya Kolisi playing more towards the ball and doing really well. So Carr taking over from Burger will also limit the disruption as far as the loose trio is concerned.
“He (Carr) has really been working hard. He got his 20 minutes last week and I’m sure he will be good this weekend,” Coetzee said. “Nemo’s strength is carrying the ball. He is different to other blindside bruisers. He has got distribution skills and he has got running skills. He will be fine.” - Cape Times
Original source: Carr to step up in Schalk’s place