Rotation paying off for Stormers, ‘loosies’

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All four players are playing some very good rugby this season, but they have been rotated to give everybody a fair chance of playing. It seems like all four loosies have embraced this move by coach Robbie Fleck, although they are still giving 100% on the training pitch to convince him that they should start.

Forwards coach Russell Winter says they are in a fortunate position to have all four loose forwards firing at the same time. But he stressed that it is important to rotate them on the basis of keeping them fresh, because “Super Rugby is a long tournament”.

“The nature of the competition is that you have to rotate your players. You have got to give the guys a chance, and you have got to rest some players,” Winter said.

“Nemo (Carr) had a rest last week because he was battling, he played in all of the last five games, and he has been playing very good rugby. It’s great that we can rotate a player, because it gives you comfort that all the players are knocking hard for their positions. The players are understanding, because it is the nature of the beast. They understand that’s what needs to be done for us to be in top form every week.”

The Stormers loose forwards have also boxed clever at the breakdown this year, despite none of them really being a specialist openside flank.

So far, Carr and Notshe have mainly played at No 6, and they have had some success. But they are actually players who like to link up with the backs and run with the ball.

Winter, though, says the Stormers are actually coping without a specialist No 6 at the moment because of the change to their approach to the game. Because they are keeping the ball alive for much longer than they have in the past, players like Carr, Burger and Notshe have been able to play with a lot more freedom. “The way you want to play will determine the personnel you choose. We want to play with ball in hand. For us, the more we have players running with the ball, the more it eliminates our need for a six flanker,” Winter said.

“My opinion is that the game still needs openside flanks, who create opportunities to steal the ball. But a six flank is a special breed of animal, and you have got to play to your strengths.

“I think we have got guys who can steal the ball, but for us it’s actually a 15-man approach. Everyone must be able to steal the ball and create those turnovers.”

Notshe, the youngest of the Stormers’ loose forwards, was given that No 6 jersey at the start of the campaign to cement himself as the fetcher, and has done well so far this season.

The main thing about Notshe, though, is that he has lifted his work rate, which has complemented the great work he does on attack by running good angles.

He scored two top tries last week against the Sunwolves. For his first try he spotted a gap next to a ruck, while he drifted nicely to collect a lovely floated pass by rookie flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis to complete in his brace.

“Notshe is working hard to the ball and he is trying to create those turnovers, and he is playing well with the ball in hand. He scored two tries last weekend and created some good turnovers,” Winter said.

“His all-round game is brilliant at the moment, he is all over the park. You can’t really say his fetching skills are better than his carrying skills, or his defence. His all-round game is coming along nicely at the moment.

“He is still learning the (No 6) position, and I think he will continue learning.” - Cape Times

Original source: Rotation paying off for Stormers, ‘loosies’

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