Scrumhalf war set for Bloem
Scrumhalf war set for BloemSHARE
It is going to be the battle of the No. 9's on Saturday as both the Stormers and the Cheetahs have named new scrumhalves for the clash.
The Stormers have given another start to Nic Groom and brought in Louis Schreuder onto the bench in place of Dewald Duvenage.
The Cheetahs have made their switch by dropping Sarel Pretorius to the bench and handing Piet Van Zyl his second start of the season.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee mentioned: "Like I said at the beginning of the season, there are no injuries it is just our rotation.
"We have got three good scrumhalves and I think that this game is suited for both Louis [Schreuder] and Nic Groom," he added.
The Stormers travel to the Free State Stadium needing to get another win as their campaign is in danger of slipping away from them before they have had a chance to get it going.
"It is going to be a high tempo game, definitely and that is the way the Cheetahs play.
"It is going to be a fast pitch up there, so it is conducive for having a go.
"With the three quality scrumhalves that we have got, this weekend I think that those two are better suited," the coach said.
Louis Schreuder get's his first look-in this season from the bench and will be eager to impress the coach when he get's on the park.
"Dewald has had his fair share of starts; Groomie [Nic Groom] has had his starts so we are looking to see how Schreuder goes going forward."
Nic Groom has really come along way since the beginning of Super Rugby this season and has put in courageous performances in every week, but keeping a player like Piet Van Zyl in check is going to be another tough ask.
Van Zyl is a player that gained huge Super Rugby experience in the absence of Sarel Pretorius last season and Coetzee is aware that he is a class player that will give the Cheetahs solid ball at the base.
"Pieter [Van Zyl] is a quality scrumhalf, his basics are good and he has got a fantastic pass and he gives his ten more time on the ball."
"One cannot underestimate Piet Van Zyl's kicking ability and don't forget he was in the big squad of 40 when the national coach assembled players."
Coetzee's opposing coach Naka Drotske has the pleasure of dropping the experienced Sarel Pretorius for a player like Van Zyl and Coetzee understands the threats that they both pose.
"Both him and Sarel [Pretorius] are really good scrumhalves and they are both strong around the fringes so our defence will be tested around the rucks and mauls."
The Western Cape franchise have Michael Rhodes making his Stormers debut on Saturday and he will add significant power to the Stormers pack and the coach is hoping that his ball carrying prowess will not be hampered by a lengthy injury lay-off.
"Normally your No. 7 is your big ball carrier and hopefully he [Michael Rhodes] has the confidence this weekend to show it."
Deon Fourie is a player that came under immense scrutiny after the Stormers loss to the Crusaders but his coach is sticking to his guns and believes that Fourie's influence in the side is invaluable.
"You must look at Deon's [Fourie] work-rate, it's unbelievable the amount of work he goes through.
"We addressed the execution issues this week and we are very confident that it will work well.
"He is just as vital in our pack as Andries [Bekker], they are both senior players and they are both crucial for us," Coetzee stressed.
The Stormers need to return to winning ways on Saturday but against a motivated and talented Cheetahs unit – at home, it is going to be difficult.
By Nick Tatham