The Cape Town team will play Griquas for the first-time ever as the Stormers on Saturday.
LOOSEHEAD prop Steven Kitshoff says he wants to produce a performance that can motivate his teammates when he runs out for his 100th Stormers cap against Griquas on Saturday (kick-off 4.30pm).
“I think the last time I played there was in 2015, so it’s going to be interesting. I know it’s going to be tough, Griquas are tough at home, and to be honest, I think there’s a lot more motivation for me around this game with it being my 100th, so hopefully, I can use that and motivate the guys with my performance,” he said during the team announcement press conference yesterday.
The Capetonians will play Griquas for the first-time ever as the Stormers on Saturday and while coach John Dobson did say that their focus is on the long term – and that means winning the Currie Cup competition (which kicks off after Super Rugby Unlocked) – he made it clear that they simply have to win this game after an unsteady run in the first half of the domestic competition.
To that end, there are five changes to the side that lost to the Bulls last weekend. Tighthead prop Neethling Fouché, lock David Meihuizen and flank Marcel Theunissen have all been named in the starting line-up, and among the backs, exciting wing Angelo Davids will make his Stormers debut, while scrumhalf Paul de Wet steps in for Herschel Jantjies, who misses out on this one on compassionate grounds.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni and tighthead Frans Malherbe will provide some Springbok cover from the bench, with fit-again centre Ruhan Nel also among the replacements.
After the 39-6 beating they took at Loftus, head coach John Dobson said that they were all embarrassed by what went down in Pretoria.
Kitshoff added to that on Thursday when he said the group is ‘desperate’ to play a good game of rugby, while keeping their foot on the pedal for 80 minutes is another goal after two slow starts (against the Lions and Pumas) and one strong one (against the Bulls) that just went south as the game progressed.
“I think the group, as a whole, is desperate to play a good game of rugby. We put in the hard work during the pre-season and every week we’ve trained hard, we just haven’t hit our straps yet.
“I think the guys are desperate to prove themselves for 80 minutes. We don’t just want to have a good week every time, but we want a good weekend as well, and I think the desperation is there, you can feel it,” Kitshoff said. “In rugby seven days is a lot of time to turn things around, so I think the amount of effort that went into this week proves that the guys are ready to go out there and show how much the jersey means to them.”
Meanwhile, the hosts will be keen to improve on their last outing against the Lions at Emirates Airline Park where they were hammered and completely outplayed by the Gauteng outfit and will want to make amends for the poor showing.
It’s also a big game for Edries Arendse who, like the Stormers skipper, will also be earning his 100th cap for Griquas.
Additional reporting by Dave Alexander
Griquas (15-1): James Verity-Amm, Ederies Arendse* , Eduan Keyter, Johnathan Frnke, Tinus de Beer, Zak Burger (captain), Carl Els, Stefan Willemse, Gideon van der Merwe, Adré Smith, Mzwanele Zito, Ewald van der Westhuizen, HJ Luus, Mox Mxoli. Bench: Monde Hadebe, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Johan Momsen, Ewan Coetzee, Theo Maree, George Whitehead, Harlon Klaasen, Bandisa Ndlovu, Cameron Lindsay, Dan Kasende
Stormers (15-1): Warrick Gelant, Edwill van der Merwe, Dan du Plessis, Rikus Pretorius, Angelo Davids, Damian Willemse, Paul de Wet, Juarno Augustus, Ernst van Rhyn, Marcel Theunissen, JD Schickerling, David Meihuizen, Neethling Fouché, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff* (captain). Bench: Scarra Ntubeni, Kwenzo Blose, Frans Malherbe, Sazi Sandi, Salmaan Moerat, Chris van Zyl, Ben-Jason Dixon, Godlen Masimla, Tim Swiel, Michal Hazner, Ruhan Nel.
* 100th cap