South Africa: Stormers Won't Rest Star Boks Until After Bye Week

21 February 2020

Cape Town — The Stormers may be undefeated in Super Rugby 2020 , but head coach John Dobson is not taking any chances ahead of Saturday's Newlands clash against the Jaguares.

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The fact that this is an inter-conference battle was enough for Dobson to select his strongest possible side for the fixture. Rest for World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit and captain Steven Kitshoff , two of the Springboks' most prized possessions heading into the post-2019 World Cup era, will have to wait until after next weekend's Blues game before they are given any rest.

The selections of both of those players in a physical, in-form Stormers pack show just how much this clash means to Dobson.

It is, after all, a contest at Newlands in what is the venue's final season of Super Rugby. The Stormers are trying desperately to turn their home base into a fortress in 2020, and they have started perfectly by keeping both the Hurricanes and the Bulls scoreless there.

"Not for this game," Dobson said firmly when asked if he has considered resting one or two players for the Jaguares.

"It's our third inter-conference game in a row.

"We're well aware of it (the need to rest players) and we've got some plans for it after our bye week to do that.

"It's a really big game for us. I don't think we will be doing anything strategic until after the bye."

The Stormers host the Blues next weekend before having a week off. The Sharks, meanwhile, have opted to rest captain and Bok star Lukhanyo Am for Saturday's match against the Melbourne Rebels.

The six-two, forwards-backs split on the bench in Dobson's team selection suggests that he is expecting the pack to have a major say in Saturday's proceedings, and while he predicted a high-scoring affair this past weekend's 33-30 win over the Lions at Ellis Park, Dobson is expecting more of a tussle against the Jaguares.

"I would think this, with the nature of the venue and the style of the teams where the emphasis for both teams will be to take away space, will be a more attritional game," Dobson said on Thursday.

"It's going to be a really physical clash.

"They're big ... I'm not sure about their athleticism compared to last year. They're aggressive. We know their physicality is going to be amazing.

"We have to take speed of ball away from them because without ball speed, we can get line speed on defence and take momentum away from them that they need for their tricks and flicks."

The Jaguares, considered by many to be the South African Conference favourites at the start of the season, have won two of their three matches so far in 2020.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 15:05.



15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Ernst van Rhyn, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis


15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Santiago Chocobares, 12 Juan Cruz Mallia, 11 Sebastien Cancelliere, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomas Cubelli (captain), 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Francisco Gorrison, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chapparro

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 23 Matias Moroni


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