Fleck: Beating Lions is 'important'

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:10

IN THE PRE-SEASON SPOTLIGHT: Stormers coach Robbie Fleck believes beating the Lions at Newlands on Saturday is an important part of his team's build-up to the Super Rugby season.

Most teams focus on their structures and getting combinations going before the season gets underway. There is often a fair amount of experimentation.

However, Fleck believes the Lions are sending a near full-strength team to Cape Town with a specific purpose and they are going to reply in kind - aiming to created a good contest, with victory one of the main priorities.

"Winning is important," Fleck said, adding that the Juan de Jongh-lead team will not be holding back.

"It shows in the Lions team that is coming down [to Cape Town] what their mission is," the Stormers coach said, adding: "It is the same mission as us.

"That [to win] has been our mission throughout the pre-season friendlies.

"Winning becomes a habit and it is important that this squad plays well during these pre-season games. We have had two good knock-outs this season and it is important we play well again this weekend."

Fleck said the most exciting part about their pre-season is that there are a lot of young players that are pushing hard for places.

"I would like to think, from a management point of view, we know who we want [to start in the opening round against the Bulls at Newlands on February 25], but with some of these kids putting up their hands it is great for us to look at these options as well.

"We want competition for places and we don't want guys sitting in a comfort zone.

"What I am excited about is that we are creating a bit more dept.

"In the past we were a bit thin in some positions, but now we are starting to build that depth."

Despite putting a high premium on victory, Fleck held back a few of his big guns - most notably Springbok locks Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Stepgh du Toit, as well as Bok centre Damian de Allende.

"There was a certain amount of game time they have already had in the pre-season," he said of the Bok trio's absence.

"Siya [Siyamthanda Kolisi] and Frans [Malherbe] have just come back from long-term injuries and they need as much game time as possible," he added, pointing out that each player's game time is monitored strictly.

He felt Saturday's game against the Lions will be a good test for them to see where they are in terms of their build-up to the season.

"They were the best attacking team in Super Rugby last year," Fleck said, adding: "They certainly can up the tempo and pace, pretty much what we faced in terms of the Chiefs in that quarterfinal last year."


Stormers squad: Juarno Augustus, Nizaam Carr, Jaco Coetzee, Juan de Jongh, Dan du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Robert du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Rynhardt Elstadt, JC Janse van Rensburg, Cheslin Kolbe, Siyamthanda Kolisi, Dan Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Sarel Marais, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Caylib Oosthuizen, Ramone Samuels, JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl, Jano Vermaak, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse, Eduard Zandberg, Leolin Zas.

Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Howard Mnisi, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements - from: Armand van der Merwe, Corne Fourie, Hencus van Wyk, Andries Ferreira, Lourens Erasmus, Robert Kruger, Jaco Kriel, Victor Sekekete, Dillon Smit, Andries Coetzee, Harold Vorster, Anthony Volmink, Jacques Nel, Sylvian Mahuza.

Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden

By Jan de Koning

Reds vs Waratahs
sast: 11h45 | local: 19h45

  • |
Chiefs vs Sunwolves
sast: 09h35 | local: 19h35

  • 27 | 20
Sat, 29 April 2017
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10