Stormers to field Test-strength backline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stormers to field Test-strength backline

By Adrian Warren 09/03/2005 07:38:44 PM Comments (0)

South Africa Stormers will test the metal of the youth of the depleted Brumbies backline by fielding an entire back division of Springboks in Friday's Super 12 rugby match in Canberra.

Coach Gert Smal opted to restore Test star Marius Joubert to the centres where he will again link up with fellow Springbok De Wet Barry.

Yet another Test player Jean De Villiers, who partnered Barry in the midfield last week in the draw against the Highlanders, was switched back to the wing in place of the only uncapped member of the back line Tonderai Chavhanga.

While the Brumbies will regain Wallaby captain and halfback George Gregan, the defending Super 12 champions will still be without Test backs Stirling Mortlock and Matt Giteau, with uncapped Wallabies squad member Mark Gerrard also still on the injury list.

With regular centres Mortlock and Giteau absent, youngsters Gene Fairbanks and Joel Wilson could find themselves lining up in the centres against the much more established combination of Joubert and Barry.

If Smal felt the Stormers would have an edge in the backs over the Brumbies, he wasn't letting on.

"The Brumbies have always had good systems and good youngsters coming through and their senior players are leading from the front, so it's always going to be a huge challenge," Smal said from the Stormers' Sydney hotel.

"It doesn't matter what type of Brumbies team is going to play."

He said the Stormers had been working this week on their organisation in both attack and defence.

Smal has also tinkered with his pack, recalling IRB player of the year and flanker Schalk Burger, who like Gregan missed last week's Super 12 round because of their involvement in the IRB Rugby Aid game.

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