Sharks v Stormers: All the sideshows and underlying battles
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: There will be no love lost between the Sharks and Stormers when they take to the field in their Super Rugby Round Seven encounter in Durban on Saturday.
The talking point is certainly Sharks No.8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe facing his former teammates.
Since Notshe moved from the Cape Town to Durban at the start of the season, he has been thriving and has proven to be a vital component in his new team’s set-up.
Notshe’s performance, including a try against the Jaguares last weekend, was the perfect reminder to Stormers of the damage he can cause.
Notshe, however, is not the only one that needs to be closely monitored.
With the likes of Springboks Curwin Bosch, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi – along with Aphelele Fassi – the Sharks’ territory and aerial game are bound to be a massive challenge on Saturday.
However, in the process to combat Sharks’ kicking game, Stormers coach John Dobson moved Damian Willemse to fullback, while Jean-Luc Du Plessis will don the No.10 jumper.
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“The Sharks kick a lot, they kick high and far. So if you get involve with that territory game, it will be important,” Dobson told reporters – when quizzed about his selection changes
“Jean-Luc has done well whenever he came on as flyhalf and we also have a certain plan which suits how he plays.
“I say thanks to Damian and Dillyn who were prepared to move for the team. It’s really around the kicking game,”
Dobson, explained: “It’s tactical positional switches.
“Dillyn [Leyds] is a superb fullback, he’s doing it [moving to wing] for the team, so it was those kinds of conversations.”
Willemse’s switch sets up an enticing contest between the two teams’ fullbacks.
For Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi this is yet another opportunity to show new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber that he needs to be in the Test squad for the July internationals.
For Willemse it eases the pressure and allows him more freedom from the back, which saw him hand-picked as the next Springboks fullback.