Stormers look at Jaguares blueprint for Sharks showdown
ROUND 18 BUILD-UP: The Stormers will play the ‘depleted’ hand dealt to them when they face the Sharks in a must-win Super Rugby showdown at Newlands on Saturday.
With no real good news on the injury front and only a few players returning, coach Robbie Fleck started his planning by looking at how the Jaguares dismantlement the Sharks last week.
Fleck confirmed that star scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies has been ruled out of the Newlands decider with a clavicle (collar bone) injury, even tough scans cleared him from any fractures.
“[It] looks like there’s a bit of bone bruising,” the coach said, adding: “There might be a muscle tear, but it is not a long-term injury.”
Fleck said the No.9 has gone to see another specialist and hopefully he will be back next week – if the Stormers advance to the play-offs.
“He has been phenomenal this year and has been a big part of our plans. [However,] Jano Vermaak did pretty well [when he came on as a replacement against the Sunwolves last Saturday].
“It is good to have his experience back in the squad. Herchel will be missed, as he brings a tempo side to our game,”
Fleck also revealed that they are not expecting John Schickerling or Pieter-Steph du Toit to return this week.
Du Toit is still four to six weeks away from returning after his shoulder injury, while Schickerling (hand) is another week.
Siyabonga Ntubeni, Damian de Allende and Seabelo Senatla are the players returning from injury.
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Looking ahead to the make-or-break encounter with the Sharks, Fleck said they players are aware of the consequences of the result.
“We win it, we go through to the quarterfinals, we lose we don’t.”
He described the Sharks as a tough side.
“They have a good set piece, they back their maul and they back their big ball carriers.
“Defensively we will have to be pretty good.”
He said there are lots of things they can take from the Jaguares’ 34-7 win in Buenos Aires last week, such as how they put the Sharks under pressure.
“For that matter [we can learn from] the way the Hurricanes played against the Sharks as well,” he said of the New Zealand team’s 30-17 win in Durban earlier this month.
“We must also look at how we played [against the Sharks] in that first match against them,” he said of the Stormers’ 16-11 win in Round Three, adding: “Tactically we were spot on.
“With the team that we have, we have to play to its strengths.”
Fleck also spoke of the “clever” kicking game of Sharks flyhalves Robert du Preez and Curwin Bosch, while scrumhalf Louis Schreuder is another that has a great tactical kicking game.