Stormers 'better prepared' for tricky Sunwolves

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:50
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers will be out to avoid a repeat of last year's performance against the Sunwolves in Singapore, despite being without a number of star players

The last time the two teams met at the Singapore National Stadium, the Cape side escaped with a 17-all draw after a lacklustre performance.

However, Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck believes his young travelling team is now better prepared to face the tricky Japanese outfit in the in the island-city state's hot and humid conditions. 

"We travelled a bit later last and we were not able to train at all because of the weather," Fleck told reporters on Thursday.

"[This time] we are better prepared in the sense that we were able to train on Tuesday and then we had another good session today [Thursday] and then one more tomorrow [Friday]. 

"It is three more [training sessions] than last year, so we are certainly better prepared in that sort of way. Obviously mentally as well. I think last year we were a little bit off our game and the threat of something like that happening again is evident, so the guys are switched on."

Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Fras Malherbe were not considered for the match due to the Springbok management plan, whilst the likes of Huw Jones, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Jano Vermaak, Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Stephan de Wit, Leolin Zas and Siyabonga Ntubeni are all unavailable due to injuries.

Despite the lack of experience in his matchday squad, Fleck is confident his young team can produce the goods and continue the Stormers' unbeaten run in this year's competition.

"It is certainly not a case of us resting players. We are faced with a bit of an injury problem at the moment. We have also been forced with the Bok management plan, which was always part of the plan. 

"We are carrying a few injuries, particularly amongst the backline. That's rugby and we had to deal with that. I think there is only one guy playing in the backline on Saturday that was part of the group that travelled here last time. 

"It is fairly new for all of them and we have made it quite clear that it is a tough place to come and play because of the environment and the conditions and the opposition.

"The new faces bring a lot of energy and they are obviously excited to get out there and play. Up front, it is a fairly strong pack and they are going to get a run now and get an opportunity to stake a claim in the side," Fleck added.

By Warren Fortune
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

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