By Gavin Rich
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee appears to have changed his mind about experimenting with his selection for the last Super Rugby league game of the season against the Rebels at Newlands on Saturday.
Coetzee has named Deon Fourie, normally a hooker, at No 8 in place of Jebb Sinclair. The Canadian, who has been ruled ineligible for the play-off stages, has been switched to the bench as loose-forward cover.
This is a departure from what Coetzee said earlier in the week. On Monday, he said that the log points needed to secure a home semifinal were an imperative and he would not be selecting with an eye to the future, which in this instance means the knock-out phase. The change of heart though is a good thing, for the Stormers should expect to beat the Rebels at home, where they haven’t lost all season. And if Fourie is not good enough to be risked in this match, then surely he isn’t good enough to be risked at No 8 in a semifinal either.
Fourie, who started at hooker against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last week, wore the No 6 jersey in a recent match against the Sharks and has acquitted himself well as a replacement flank when called upon to do so. He made some crucial turnovers when playing in the back row in the last Newlands game against the Lions.
However, playing off the back of the scrum will be a new challenge for him, and with the semifinals in mind, it will be interesting to see if Coetzee is prepared to make a few other adjustments in an attempt to look at other options should the Stormers set up a solid platform in the Rebels game and play them into a situation where they can’t lose.