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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu gives Stormers good news during gloomy tour

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The Stormers are in desperation mode for their third European tour match of the United Rugby Championship (URC) against Munster on Saturday.

They are desperate to improve on their latest performances in the competition after coming unstuck in their first two tour matches of the new season. It will be a bit of déjà vu for the former champions, who found themselves in a similar position after the first few rounds of the first season.

But according to forwards coach Rito Hlungwani, they will have to take baby steps to get better in the next few matches.

“We have to put one foot in front of the other. That is how we managed it in the first season, and that is where we are now,” said Hlungwani.

“If there is any desperation, it is desperation for improvement. That is what we are looking to do. We have set high standards for ourselves, and we are far away from where we want to be.

“The message we are sending to the team is how can we get better? We can’t all of a sudden change that narrative because we are playing Munster.

“Our main focus is getting better, and the things we do well, we want to improve that.”

A touch of good news for the Stormers ahead of the big game is that young star Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu is back in training after a slight injury kept him out of the Benetton clash.

Should he be selected, head coach John Dobson can restore the midfield combination of outside centre Ruhan Nel and the youngster, while winger Ben Loader can shift out wide again.

Hlungwani confirmed Feinberg-Mngomezulu ran at yesterday’s training, and they are hopeful of a green light from the doctors when they finalise the team.

“We have been unlucky in the 10 to 12 position (with injuries), but the guys who stepped in, we are happy with. I think Blomme (Clayton Blommetjies) did well in the first two games.

“We are a team of fighters, and the guys have put their hands up. We would be happy to have some specialists coming back in those positions.”

Although they launched some powerful rolling mauls during the game, two lost lineouts late in the second half against Benetton – when the Stormers went searching for the winning try – hurt the team.

Hlungwani said those critical errors in Italy gave him sleepless nights.

“I don’t think I slept much because of those two line-outs. So, obviously, I would’ve done some serious analysis. But it’s part of the process. Look at our system.

“Ruben (van Heerden) played four-lock last year. Gary Porter was injured for most of the season, and we lost Marvin Orie (who left for France).

“It takes me back to the first season when we just had Adre (Smith) and Salmaan (Moerat), and Salmaan was calling the line-outs. There were a lot of growing pains during that time, and it is the same this time.

“We are finding each other, and trying to improve the system. There will be mistakes along the way, and it is things that can be fixed.

“We need to look for improvement consistently,” he concluded.

IOL Sport

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