Who will counter Lood at Loftus?

CAPE TOWN – For all the promises by both teams to play with greater adventure this season, any clash between the Stormers and Bulls is decided by the amount of quality set-piece ball the dangerous backs get to play with.

On Saturday at Loftus it will be no different with an almighty challenge facing the Stormers at lineout time. The Bulls have their ace jumper Lood de Jager back in the frame, while the Stormers will still be without Springbok Eben Etzebeth this week.

Stormers forwards coach Russell Winter is acutely aware of the challenge De Jager poses at Loftus.

“He is a great player, he was just unfortunate with injury last year, but he showed us in superhero Sunday what a class performer he is by putting our lineout under pressure. He is a world-class lock and he manipulates lineouts really well at the contest and also manages his own ball very well,” Winter said.

We take a closer look at the Stormers’ lineout options to counter De Jager & Co this week.

Salmaan Moerat

The former South Africa Under-20 and SA Schools captain would probably be on the starting roster for any other Super Rugby franchise in SA, but such is the strong competition for places at the heart of the Stormers scrum that Moerat will most likely have to be content with a place on the bench in Pretoria.
Touching two metres tall, Moerat certainly has the height and bulk to rough it with the toughest in Super Rugby and will only improve the more game time he gets. After answering an SOS to Dunedin last year where he made his Stormers debut against the Highlanders, the Paarl youngster should be over his first-season nerves and ready to make a big impact when called upon.

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Salmaan Moerat certainly has the height and bulk to rough it with the toughest in Super Rugby. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Chris van Zyl

It is not every day that you find in this professional era a player that is a qualified chartered accountant, but that is exactly what Van Zyl does when he is not captaining Western Province in the Currie Cup or tasting Super Rugby action with the Stormers. A quality team man who will never let his side down, and judging by his performance on superhero Sunday, which was rewarded with a game-clinching try, Van Zyl is champing at the bit to get the nod for Loftus. 

With Etzebeth still placed on ice, there could be no one better calling out the numbers at lineout time for the Stormers.

JD Schickerling

Although only still 23-years old, Schickerling feels like he needs to make up for lost time. This is, of course, due to a horrific neck injury suffered a few years back and a further injury suffered last year that forced the second-rower to miss much of the Super Rugby season after just picking up a Man-of-the-Match performance against the Jaguares. But such is his determination to get back to his best, Schickerling was one of the standout performers in last year’s Currie Cup upon his return that he was picked for the end-of-year Bok tour. 

A towering figure who dominates at lineout time, but is also mobile enough to contribute in the loose. He has the potential to develop into a cult figure at Newlands like a certain Hottie Louw was in a previous Stormers era.


Cape Times

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