Stormers justify risk of loading up with Boks against Boland

Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Frans Malherbe during the DHL Stormers training session and interviews at High Performance Centre on February 06, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Frans Malherbe during the DHL Stormers training session and interviews at High Performance Centre on February 06, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

Given their poor injury record, the Capetonians will hope their myriad of national players don’t pick up niggles.

If you want an illustration of just how powerful the Stormers can be on paper, just take a glance at their starting line-up for their final warm-up before Super Rugby against Boland.

An incredible 11 out of the 15 players are Springboks – a full 73%.

Yet, with the World Cup looming, it’s also eminently possible that national coach Rassie Erasmus could limit their availability at times to wrap them in cotton wool.

That will seriously test the Capetonians’ depth.

However, it’s not something coach Robbie Fleck is worrying too much about at the moment.

“We’ve had conversations with Rassie already,” he said.

“But there’s no set plan to date. There will be discussions again and once a framework is put forward, we’ll certainly do our best to help the Springboks but also try to do what’s best for the Stormers.”

Given their poor track record with injuries over the years, a fairly undistinguished game in Wellington seems like risky place to play all one’s national stars though Fleck is philosophical about it.

“The national players had a conditioning programme of five weeks. It was always the plan for all of them to start this game,” said the former Bok midfielder.

“The threat (of injuries) is always there, but it can just as easily happen during a training session too. We’ve got to give these guys an opportunity to tackle at full intensity, to compete on the ground and to work hard.”

Stormers: Craig Barry, JJ Engelbrecht, Ruhan Nel, Damian de Allende, SP Marais, Damian Willemse, Justin Phillips, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, JD Schickerling, Cobus Wiese, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff. Bench: Chad Solomon, Corne Fourie, Neethling Fouche, Chris van Zyl, Jaco Coetzee, Juarno Augustus, Kobus van Dyk, Herschel Jantjies, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Josh Stander, Dan du Plessis, Dan Kriel, Nico Leonard.

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