Stormers forced into late switch
February 21, 2007
Stormers head coach Kobus van der Merwe today announced the team to take on the Highlanders at Carisbrook, Dunedin on Saturday.
Commenting on his selection, and in particular the late withdrawl of Egon Seconds, Van der Merwe said, "Egon sustained a hamstring injury which has forced his late withdrawl from the match. As a result Gio [Aplon] moves to fullback and Brent [Russell] covers for Egon at 11.
"The Highlanders have a strong midfield and we feel that De Wet Barry will make his presence felt there. He also has the experience of Super 14 rugby and has played at Carisbrook before. At the back Gio, Brent and Breyton all give us pace and the ability to create scoring chances from turnover ball. They also bring unpredictability and flair to our attack. We want to be known as a team that can score tries from everywhere and that is one aspect we will be looking to improve on this week.
"After the win over the Chiefs it was important for us to maintain continuity and hence we did not want to make many changes. We have retained the pack in an effort to build on the progress that was made against the Chiefs. We were effective in the lineouts in the previous match and our cleaning out was a lot better. We will be looking for more improvement this week. The loosies also made more impact at the breakdown where we forced several turnovers. Again, we will be looking to make further progress here.
"The guys are looking good. They have recovered well from the travel, and have quickly adjusted to the 11 hour time difference. We have had two good field sessions, which included a solid scrumming session and drills in preparation for the match. The guys have also done some rehab in the pool and also had a good gym session on Wednesday afternoon.
"It is important for us to get the tour off on a positive note and we will be determined to do well. We are not being misled by the fact that the Highlanders have not had a good start this season. They are playing at home at a venue that is never kind to visiting teams. There is also a challenge for us to become the first Stormers team to win at Carisbrook so there is no underestimating the significance of this match."
The team is as follows:
15. Gio Aplon