De Waal favoured for Lions clash

The more conservative Willem de Waal will start against the Lions as the Stormers search for a win ahead of their tour Down Under.

De Waal kicked well at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday but was substituted for Peter Grant after the break. Rassie Erasmus explained these tactics were necessary and believes the game plan very nearly came off.

The Stormers limited the Bulls in the first half because of De Waal’s kicking game, and with Peter Grant’s better distribution skills the Cape franchise opened up in the final 30 minutes.

Word from the Stormers camp is that De Waal will retain his place as Erasmus opts for a similar approach. De Waal is likely to pressure the Lions back three with his prodigious boot, and if the Stormers chase well, they could benefit from any errors. Like last week, Grant should be introduced in the latter stages when the Stormers look to use their backline to secure the bonus point.

Against a side like the Lions it does not appear a bad tactic, but the question needs to be asked why the Stormers can’t employ these tactics with Grant starting at 10. Apart from his own improved line-kicking, there is Percy Montgomery and Conrad Jantjes who could start at the back, a pair as adept to launching the bomb or aiming for the corners.

The Stormers have lost their last two games and should this strategy prove successful, Erasmus may be tempted to persist with it when the team head to Australasia. For Grant, a Springbok flyhalf candidate for the British & Irish Lions tour, this would mean more time on the bench.

Erasmus will name his side later today. Sireli Naqelevuki is set to replace Tonderai Chavhanga on the wing while JD Moller will be back in the front row.