"We've been coached to play proper rugby, to play what's in front of you."
Ahead of their quarter-final against the Chiefs at Newlands tomorrow, Stormers captain Siya Kolisi says their new mindset is the most important change they’ve made since they met the Kiwi side last year.
During the 2016 quarter-finals, the Stormers took a 60-21 whipping from Dave Rennie’s Chiefs, and tomorrow they will get a chance to erase that unpleasant memory (better than their win over the Chiefs in Round Eight could).
At the Stormers team announcement at Newlands yesterday, the Springbok loose-forward said that since last year’s play-offs, they’ve been coached to play what’s in front of them, and he believes that is what they will need to get right if they want to make it to the semi-finals.
“I think the mindset – that we can’t run into people the whole time and we can’t kick just because we’re under pressure – has changed. Now we’ve been coached to play proper rugby, to play what’s in front of you,” Kolisi said.
“If it’s open to play, doesn’t matter where you are on the field, have a go. And that’s what the teams who have been winning the competition lately get right. Whether they’re in their 22 or on their try line or in your 22, they’ll run the ball. That’s what we need to get right on Saturday (tomorrow) – we have to play what’s in front of us.”
“We worked hard during the pre-season and our mindset changed, and I think that’s the most important thing.”
Kolisi will pack down in a slightly different-look loose trio for the quarter-final, with Rynhardt Elstadt replacing Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who drops to the bench, in the run-on side. On his selection, coach Robbie Fleck said that Elstadt offers “something different” to the loose trio.
Stormers (15-1): SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe, EW Viljoen, Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds, Damian Willemse, Jano Vermaak, Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, JC Janse van Rensburg
Bench: Ramone Samuels, Oli Kebble, Wilco Louw, Chris van Zyl, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh