Smith: Stormers will miss ‘inspirational’ Roos

Franco Smith noted the absence of Evan Roos from the DHL Stormers side that will face his Glasgow Warriors team in the Vodacom URC quarter-finals on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.

Roos was left out of the DHL Stormers’ matchday-23 for the clash at Scotstoun Stadium, as he has not recovered from a concussion suffered in the final-round match against the Lions in Cape Town.

The 24-year-old was just starting to find his stride at openside flank and enjoyed a terrific performance against the Lions, capped off by an incredible solo try in the second half.

“I agree that he might be a loss for them,” Glasgow coach Smith said. “We all know that he is a good player. The try he scored against the Lions, out of nowhere, turned the dial for them in that game.

“He’s an inspiration. He symbolises what the Stormers stand for, that X-factor and the ability to change a small opportunity into something on the scoreboard.”

Willie Engelbrecht will start at No 6 for the Stormers, who are also without the injured Deon Fourie and Nama Xaba.

“We know Willie well,” Smith said. “He’s a strong ball-carrier. He played against us in November. We have a good idea of what he is going to bring to the game. John will be the first to admit that they have contracted well and have good squad depth.

“They might miss Evan, but that won’t change the challenge that we are facing.”

Another notable change sees Warrick Gelant return to fullback, with Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu shifting to a more familiar position at inside centre.

Smith is wary of what the threat posed by the former Junior Springbok captain in the Stormers’ midfield.

“I’ve been following Sacha. He was in the same age-bracket as my son, who played for the South Africa U20 side. I’ve seen him as a schoolboy, making his way through the U20s.

“So I have a good idea of what he brings. He played at inside centre against us in November. We know he is a good player with X-factor and an all-round skillset, which is something the Stormers are full of in the backline.

“He adds good value to them and will challenge us defensively. We expect him to be on top of his game, even if he’s moved from fullback.

Smith’s Warriors are unbeaten against the Stormers in Glasgow, but he is taking nothing for granted in a knockout match.

“[The previous games] have absolutely no relevance from our perspective. This is a completely different game in a different part of the season, as John elaborated on.

“It’s also knockout rugby. It’s a completely different setting. We’ve looked at the previous games to make sure that we are aligned with what we are doing. But it is going to be different to what we’ve seen before.”

Under Smith, Glasgow are rated as the second-best attacking team in the Vodacom URC this season, ranking first for defenders beaten, metres gained and clean breaks.

However, they will face a Stormers side that has successfully employed a rush defence under the watchful eye of defensive guru Norman Laker.

“We have a strategy. Whether it’s going to be going around them, through them or attacking the space behind the defence, all of those components come into play,” Smith explained.

“They’ve toned down on their linespeed. They aren’t as hot as they were two years ago and even in November. They are more experienced in the way they defend. So we need more than one way to breach them.

“We have had success previously, but Norman is a clever guy and they would have adapted to make sure they don’t get caught out.”

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Franco Smith noted the absence of Evan Roos from the DHL Stormers side that will face his Glasgow Warriors team in the @Vodacom #URC quarter-finals on Saturday.
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