“I think this is going to be one of the biggest matches I’ve played, it’s a huge honour and privilege to be the captain of the Stormers this week, it’s a massive task,” Carr said yesterday.
The two-Test Springbok is the only survivor from the team that ran on for a 19-19 draw against the Lions at Newlands last week. “I wouldn’t like to think of this as a second-string side,” he said. “The guys (coming in) have a great opportunity this weekend and we’re going for the win, that’s what it’s about.”
A Stormers win, complemented by losses for the Waratahs and Brumbies, would make Newlands the venue for a semi-final, and coach Allister Coetzee backed Carr up, denying that the Cape side had given up all hope of sneaking into second place.
“We’d like to keep momentum in our campaign,” said Coetzee. “We’ve looked at it scientifically to rest those players who have overreached, or are on the brink of overreaching.”
Inside centre Jaco Taute is set to make his first Super Rugby appearance since May last year while flanker Michael Rhodes has recovered from a hamstring injury suffered in April.
Cheslin Kolbe’s place at fullback has been taken by Western Province’s Vodacom Cup flyhalf Robert du Preez, who will be making his Super Rugby debut, while Johnny Kotze and Pat Howard complete a new combination in the back three.
“In the spine of your backline, the most underrated attribute is communication skills,” added the Stormers coach. “Forget about the core skills of kicking and passing, if they can’t organise then there’s a lack of character in the position.
“Robert brings that, so he’s got to own that space at the back and communicate to his wingers. I like Robert at fullback, his communication skills are good, he’s quite big and strong under the high ball and he’s got a good right boot.”
Stormers fans are hoping that the right boot of Kurt Coleman is back on target this week after the flyhalf missed a crucial penalty against the Lions that greatly diminished the chances of clinching a home semi-final.
“The easiest thing is to look for someone else at flyhalf, but it’s not necessarily the right thing to do,” added Coetzee.
Meanwhile, the Sharks will bid farewell to three stalwarts who appear to have come to the end of their Super Rugby journeys. Front row siblings Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and blindside bruiser Willem Alberts will join French clubs after Super Rugby, and all three have been named in a powerful Sharks line-up that includes Springbok finisher JP Pietersen and recalled breakaway Marcell Coetzee.
“The Sharks have selected a top-notch side,” said Coetzee.
Stormers: Robert du Preez, Johnny Kotze, Huw Jones, Jaco Taute, Pat Howard, Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr (capt), Michael Rhodes, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ruan Botha, Jean Kleyn, Vincent Koch, Michael Willemse, Oli Kebble. Replacements: Neil Rautenbach, Alistair Vermaak, Wilco Louw, Jan de Klerk, Siya Kolisi, Godlen Masimla, Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Wyk.
Sharks: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Andre Esterhuizen, S’bura Sithole, Lionel Cronjé, Stefan Ungerer, Renaldo Bothma, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel (capt), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Khaya Majola, Conrad Hoffman, Fred Zeilinga, Heimar Williams. - The Star
Original source: Stormers make 14 changes