His physicality is massive for us
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee on Monday let slip his intentions to bulk up his pack with the inclusion of Rynhardt Elstadt for Saturday’s derby against the Bulls at Newlands.
Coetzee confirmed that utility forward Elstadt, prop Pat Cilliers and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will be considered to start what will be the Stormers’ final game of the season.
The forward pair returned from injury off the bench against the Southern Kings and got through the 24-12 win unscathed, while De Villiers has recovered from a sternum injury that has sidelined him since the Springboks’ 56-23 victory over Samoa at Loftus Versfeld last month.
Coetzee indicated that the Stormers would take a page out of the Sharks’ playbook when they confront their arch rivals on Saturday.
The Sharks looked poised to upset the Bulls at Loftus at the weekend after their forwards had outmuscled the hosts at the gainline and in the set-pieces.
Despite conceding two yellow cards, the Durban side had an opportunity to win the game after the big back row trio of man of the match Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts had given the visitors go-forward, only for Riaan Viljoen to miss a last-minute penalty, which saw the Bulls escape with a 20-19 win to move to the top of the log.
Coetzee, during his assessment of the Bulls game and of his team’s 24-12 win over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth, dropped his plan to promote Elstadt to the run-on side.
“I was impressed with the Sharks forwards last weekend. They had their chances and should have won the game. They laid the platform, really dominated and put themselves in a position to win but average goal-kicking cost them,” said Coetzee.
“The Kings are one of the best mauling sides in the competition and they couldn’t score last weekend. That says a lot about how we defended the mauls and we scored two mauling tries, so it’s important to put the pressure on in the mauls and get the set-piece right. The Bulls are a big mauling side as well, so it’s important to get those things right.
“Without experienced players it’s a challenge but I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to keep the pack the same for the last four games. The only disruption, and it’s a nice disruption, is Rynhardt coming back into the starting team.”
Coetzee then back-pedalled when asked about Elstadt’s impending inclusion in the starting XV.
“Should he start, his physicality is massive for us,” said Coetzee.
“He made a big impact when he came on Saturday with carrying ball, making yards and getting us momentum as well as with his ability to make double tackles and positive hits. He’s got an engine and a workrate as well, so I’m just happy to have Rynhardt and Pat [Cilliers] back this week, and Jean as well.”