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EXPLAINED: How Stormers' Boks will be rested

REACTION: The Stormers will not be able to rely on their World Cup-winning Springboks for the crunch derby with the Sharks next month.

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The Stormers secured home advantage in the opening round of the play-offs, after they beat French giants Stade Francais 24-20 in a chaotic Champions Cup encounter in Paris at the weekend.

Stade Francais went into the match bottom of Pool Four, but it was still possible to qualify for the Round of 16 if they won and results elsewhere went their way.

In contrast, the Stormers needed a minimum of two points to secure their spot in the Round of 16, and a bonus-point win would secure home advantage.

After 80 pulsating minutes and a dramatic, even bizarre finish, they can look back at a job well done.

Stormers coach John Dobson said it was an “extraordinary” achievement by his team have qualified for a home play-off match by winning in freezing conditions in Paris.

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However, they now have four weeks before their next match – a United Rugby Championship Round 10 encounter with the Sharks in Durban on February 17.

“We have gone on this incredible run,” he said of their recent form – which includes wins over Stade Rochelais, Sale Sharks, Sharks (Durban), the Bulls and Stade Francais.

He felt their ‘best’ performance was the one loss in the last six matches – 26-35 to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in early December.

“What is important in the next few weeks – with the Springboks on [compulsory] rest – is that these guys [rest of the Stormers] get a rest,” Dobson told @rugby365com.

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“We will play a couple of ‘friendlies’ [training matches] against Maties and UCT – to ensure the other guys [fringe players] are included and ensure they buy into the same values that make this team so great.”

Dobson added that he doubts they will lose their momentum, despite a month without competitive games.

He also gave clarity of the five-week compulsory break that his Springboks must undertake.

Damian Willemse, Manie Libbok and captain Deon Fourie will all be unavailable for the next five weeks.

“They must have three weeks of complete rest,” Dobson told @rugby365com, adding: “They can’t be involved in rugby at all.

“Then it is another two weeks – in which they can train, but they can’t play.”

The one player who is not part of the compulsory Bok break is prop Frans Malherbe, who has now fully recovered from his lower back complaints and is available for selection.

Because he has not played since the World Cup, he is ‘excused’ from the Bok lay-off period.

“He will be available to play against the Sharks,” the coach added.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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