Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says his biggest task will be to ensure that his players are not underdone by the time their 2012 Super Rugby season kicks off against the Hurricanes at Newlands on February 25.
The Cape franchise who topped the South African conference last season take on the Kings this weekend and Coetzee is expected to field a near full-strength side for that game as they attempt to get rid of the last pre-season cobwebs.
"With the warm-up matches one has to ensure the best players get enough game time," Coetzee said on Monday.
"We must ensure that we are not underdone by the time the season start. It's also a tricky start to the season because we've drawn a bye after two rounds. If players still need to get match fit they'll have to take outings in the Vodacom Cup competition."
The Stormers, who fielded a largely second string combination against the Cheetahs at Newlands last Saturday, suffered a rare defeat in a pre-season match.
Coetzee acknowledged that his side's attack was not what it should have been.
"The pressure got to some (young) players at Newlands on Saturday, and those players would have realised they need to learn lessons quickly at Super Rugby level," said Coetzee.
"I now know who the best players are and we'll announce our 2012 squad on Wednesday," he revealed.
One concern that has regularly been raised with the Stormers' management is the lack of a specialist fetcher in their squad, but Coetzee dismissed these worries explaining that the team preferred to rely on their watertight defensive sytem to secure turnovers.
"We play without a specialist fetcher and my view is that by including a player specially for 'fetching' duties we are limiting ourselves. We have several players who can play that role, and who can do it rather well," he said.
"We use our defensive system to turn-over ball and our breakdown performance is improving with every outing. I can't say the same about our general attack play but we're looking to show a big improvement in that area this week," said Coetzee.
The Stormers' pack will be considerably beefed up this week for the Kings encounter in Port Elizabeth with lock Andries Bekker and No.8 Duane Vermeulen finally returning to action after a long lay-off.
Another lock Rynhardt Elstadt was eased back into action over the weekend and he is likely to enjoy a longer stint on Saturday.
The other key player in the running for inclusion on Saturday is scrumhalf Dewald Duvenage.
"We have a management plan with the players returning from injury and Duvenage is doing a fair amount of work, but we are still not sure whether he'll play on Saturday," said Coetzee.
"We'll do an assessment again on Wednesday."
Stormers captain Schalk Burger has been given a break this week for "personal reasons" and he will return to the squad at next Monday's training.
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