Ruhan Nel to add attacking impetus in Stormers’ clash against wounded Sharks
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CAPE TOWN – Stormers centre Ruhan Nel can add major potency on attack in their crucial PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA match against the Sharks on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).
While the Stormers have welcomed back a number of key players, Nel’s inclusion could make the biggest difference when it comes to creating – and converting – opportunities with ball in hand.
Second-rowers JD Schickerling and Marvin Orie have recovered from an ankle injury and concussion respectively and have been named in the starting line-up. They complete the tight five behind the all-Springbok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe.
In the loose trio, blindside flank Pieter-Steph du Toit is also back in the run-on side alongside Willie Engelbrecht and Evan Roos after being rested against the Lions last week, while Nel comes in as the only change to the backline after spending the last two weeks with the Blitzboks.
And it’s a significant change.
The Blitzboks star has been influential for the Cape side this season, bringing fluency on attack and getting the backline going by creating opportunities, something that has sometimes lacked in the talent-laden backline.
Earlier this week, attack coach Dawie Snyman explained that while Dan du Plessis, who scored two tries against the Lions, has shown what he can do, has been played out of position as he is primarily a 12. And this week, head coach John Dobson has opted for Rikus Pretorius and Nel, a more natural 13, in midfield.
Dobson said there has been an emphasis on executing the gameplan as accurately as possible this week.
"We want to make the best use of the opportunities that we create, which means that we must be focused and as accurate as possible in everything that we do.
"All of the players coming in this week have played a role in this campaign already and we are looking forward to a cohesive team performance," he said.
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Adre Smith, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Marcel Theunissen, 25 Dan du Plessis.