No Evan Roos as Stormers bank on ‘hard tackler’ Willie Engelbrecht in Glasgow

Willie Engelbrecht’s abrasive style on attack and defence could help the Stormers generate front-foot ball against Glasgow. Photo: BackpagePix

Willie Engelbrecht’s abrasive style on attack and defence could help the Stormers generate front-foot ball against Glasgow. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 8, 2024


The Stormers are well and truly taking the gravel road to a possible semi-final in the United Rugby Championship, with another Springbok ruled out of the quarter-final against Glasgow Warriors tonight.

Loose forward Evan Roos is the latest casualty after sustaining concussion during training this week, and he will miss the all-important knockout at Scotstoun Stadium (8.35pm SA time kick-off).

He’s the third Bok missing, with World Cup winners Damian Willemse and Deon Fourie also out due to injuries.

It bites into the experience and grunt of the inaugural URC champions. But the Stormers prepared for any eventuality on their path towards a third consecutive finals berth, with Roos being replaced by hardman Willie Engelbrecht.

“Evan is a disappointment,” Stormers coach John Dobson said at yesterday’s team announcement.

“It was a freak blow during training. We could’ve flown him in tonight (yesterday evening) because it was a light concussion. But for the good of the group – we had to prepare – we decided not to. He will be available to play should we make it through to next week.

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“I can give you the vanilla answer, but Evan is a big loss with the way he is playing at the moment. His involvement in our game has been through the roof, and the move to the six-flanker has been really good for him.

“He’s been disciplined, despite the provocation, and that was one of our stress points on our tour here last year.

“Willie is different. He is a hard tackler and will be a big factor on the 4G pitch to take away momentum, and he cleans very well at the breakdown. He is not a classic stealer, but can be a nuisance at the rucks.”

Despite missing some match-winners, the Stormers pack of forwards won’t lose any grunt with the inclusion of Engelbrecht.

Even though they switched the entire front row from last weekend, Springbok duo Frans Malherbe and hooker Joseph Dweba should lay the marker down in the scrums alongside 39-year-old veteran loosehead prop Brok Harris.

Harris had a belter of a performance off the bench last weekend, and has been the best loosehead for the Cape side this season.

The task will be on the forwards to lay the platform for the backline to work their magic, with a 10-12-15 axis of Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok, the versatile Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu at inside centre, and another World Cup-winning Bok Warrick Gelant at the back ready to strike.

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“The next step in Sacha’s growth is to keep him on the field and challenge him. This will be a big experience at a high level, but luckily he’s got his mentor and bosom friend Dan du Plessis next to him,” Dobson said.

“Huwipolotu (the nickname Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones got as Glasgow and Scotland centres) is a big threat. Tuipulotu has some good soft skills, and Jonesy has a really good pass. They have an expansive style (at the back) and some really good tricks up front.

“It is an important part of our growth to play an away quarter-final, and we will be better off for this despite what happens. But we will be disappointed if our journey ends tomorrow.”

Teams For Scotstoun Stadium

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg 13 Dan du Plessis 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu 11 Ben Loader 10 Manie Libbok 9 Herschel Jantjies 8 Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Ben-Jason Dixon 6 Willie Engelbrecht 5 Ruben van Heerden 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain) 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Joseph Dweba 1 Brok Harris.

Bench: 16 André-Hugo Venter 17 Sti Sithole 18 Neethling Fouché 19 Adré Smith 20 Marcel Theunissen 21 Connor Evans 22 Paul de Wet 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay 14 Sebastian Cancelliere 13 Huw Jones 12 Sione Tuipulotu 11 Kyle Steyn (captain) 10 Tom Jordan 9 George Horne 8 Jack Dempsey 7 Rory Darge 6 Matt Fagerson 5 Richie Gray 4 Scott Cummings 3 Zander Fagerson 2 Johnny Matthews 1 Jamie Bhatti.

Bench: 16 George Turner 17 Nathan McBeth 18 Oli Kebble 19 Max Williamson 20 Euan Ferrie 21 Henco Venter 22 Jamie Dobie 23 Ross Thompson.