Stormers not having sleepless nights over Kolisi
RAINBOW CUP SPOTLIGHT: Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani is not too worried about Siya Kolisi giving the Sharks some inside information ahead of their season opener in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Springbok captain left the Stormers earlier this year for a new chapter in Durban and is set to face his former team for the first time since that move.
While the spotlight is on Kolisi in the build-up to the game, Hlungwani is rather focussing his attention on the youngsters who are rising to the challenge since Kolisi’s departure.
“Siya has been at Province for a long time and during that time the team has evolved. We feel that we are continuously evolving,” said Hlungwani.
“It’s part of the game. We have had players leave at certain times, so we are not too concerned about what Siya knows.
“Siya is a guy that we all love, he is a good human being. In saying that, players come and go and we feel we prepared well to make sure that we are ready for certain players to step in when a big player like Siya leaves.
“You would have seen Marcel Theunissen put his hand up during the Preparation Series. You would have seen Nama Xaba, who is also one of our products from the institute, so it will be good to see how he slots into that position.
“It will be a competitive game, but we are not too stressed about anything that Siya might be giving to the Sharks. It’s no different to any other team analysing us and giving some extra information that they may know.”
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Hlungwani believes he has got two rising stars in the form of Marcel Theunissen (21) and Nama Xaba (23) for the back row.
“Nama came straight from Glenwood to the Western Province Rugby Institute, where I was coaching at the time, and he is a very hard worker.
“I’ve known him for a long time. He works well around the park and he is one of those guys that is always running in front.
“At the end of the training, you will always see him doing extras. He wants to be the best in that position.
“He brings a high work rate, which I think is going to work really well with Pieter-Steph [du Toit], because he also has a high work rate.
“But Nama is really good on the loose balls.
“He is contesting the breakdowns. He has been slowed down by injuries, but I am sure the few times that you have seen him he has been quite impressive.”
Hlungwani added: “On the other hand we got Marcel, who came into Western Province straight from high school from Grey Bloem. He played a lot for Maties Young Guns and he is also a very good youngster.
“I coached him at Under-19 as well. He is also a very good line-out jumper, he is very smart and he works very hard on the field.
“He is not really a fetcher because he played most of his rugby as an eighthman, so he is almost like a highly-skilled flank. He almost acts like a link man.
“We are slowly trying to push him to be more of a fetcher, who plays towards the ball
“Both of them have very good engines – they keep going. They are always pushing the metres really hard.”