CAPE TOWN – Sometimes dead rubbers are just, well, dead. But, other times, the reduced pressure and no nagging feelings of everything having to be done a certain way, with minimal risk, allows these matches to produce some stunning moments. After all, there is often a lot more freedom, given the insignificance of these fixtures.
Of course, in a South African context, no match is ever really insignificant.
The ‘real’ contest will be in Durban as the Sharks and table-topping Bulls battle it out tomorrow. Jake White’s men need just one point to ensure they board the flight to Italy for the northsouth final of the inaugural Rainbow Cup in Treviso on June 19, while the Sharks need a bonus-point victory to ruin the Bulls’ plans and feature in the final themselves. Needless to say, there’s a lot hanging on this one.
While there are no title hopes hanging on the first fixture of the day down in Cape Town (kick-off 4pm), the Lions will want to get one over the Stormers after their round three home defeat. For the Stormers, a win is never unwelcome.
So, here are three Stormers players (not included in the Bok squad) who can add life to their dead rubber at Cape Town Stadium.
Edwill van der Merwe
If he can’t resuscitate this one, I don’t know who can.
The winger has been in sizzling form and he has been especially lethal in the Stormers’ last three outings, wreaking havoc with ball in hand in such an effortless way.
There are those who feel that the 24-year-old can consider himself unlucky to have not made the cut for Jacques Nienaber’s 46-man squad for the Tests against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions, and if he personally feels aggrieved, he now has even more reason to continue doing what he’s been doing this year against the team he is understood to be joining later this year.
This guy can count himself unfortunate not to have a Springbok cap to his name already, although he played for South Africa A against a touring England Saxons team in 2016 and earned a call-up to the Bok squad in 2018.
He has overcome career and mobility-threatening injury. But he returned and went right back into action like he had recovered from something as generally mild as the common cold. He played with no fear after breaking his neck, and it’s a trait that’s not faltered since.
He is Bok material, no doubt, and his involvement with the national side is just a matter of time.
Worth a Mention: Evan Roos
The 21-year-old just keeps getting better and better. He put in a huge shift against the Bulls last week and made a whopping 21 tackles and won two turnovers.