Stormers 'can definitely make' play-offs
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Despite their long list of injuries and their current position in the standings, the Stormers camp are confident they will make the play-offs.
The Stormers find themselves dead-last on the South African conference on 30 points, while Bulls (34 points) and the Sharks (33 Points) are third and fourth, respectively – with the Lions at No.2 with 35 points.
The Jaguares have already booked their play-off spot with a win over the Reds.
However, with Stormers being one of nine teams vying for five remaining play-off places, Springboks prop Wilco Louw is adamant his side will qualify.
Last weekend’s defeat to the Lions did not help their pursuit for a play-off berth, but with two home games against Sunwolves and Sharks, it seems like there is no doubt inside the camp.
“We can definitely still make it,” Louw told reporters.
“I don’t think the players, nor the management have any doubts about that. The next two games are crucial, and we don’t play rugby to lose, we play to win,”
“I think every player at the Stormers wants to make the season a success.”
Similar to their previous season, the franchise found themselves again at the wrong side of the injury count.
In the last two weeks, the side have lost not only Springbok duo Siya Kolisi (knee) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (shoulder) due to injuries, but Eben Etzebeth and young lock Cobus Wiese also joined the casualty ward after the defeat in Johannesburg, while Scarra Ntubeni was sidelined on the eve of the loss.
Despite missing some big-name pack players, Louw refused to use it as an excuse for their recently troubled set-piece ahead of their Sunwolves match.
“It was a bit of a disruption, but it’s behind us now. There are always going to be injuries, there can be injuries this week, there can be injuries next week – It’s part of the game, we just have to adapt,” he said.
He added: “The Sunwolves have a good scrum and a good attacking game and we are expecting a tough match.
“We pride ourselves on our scrum and we couldn’t be proud of last weekend’s performance, so we need to fix it.
“We have to scrum much better. We had a reasonable attack, but I think our defence was a bit of a let-down. So, we need to work hard with Norman [Laker] to get it right this week by getting off the line quicker and making some dominant tackles.”
By Leezil Hendricks