S15 preview - Stormers v Hurricane

2014-03-03 11:41
Stormers (File)
Stormers vs Hurricanes – Newlands, Cape Town
Jaco Taute & Conrad Smith

Jaco Taute & Conrad Smith

The final action on Friday takes us to the south coast of South Africa where the Stormers play hosts to the Hurricanes. Another scenario of loser vs loser as both these teams got thumped in Round 2. The majority of the rugby watching public anticipated the Sharks to beat the Canes, but the way the Cape Town franchise was effortlessly dismantled by the relegation surviving Lions devastated the blue-and-white striped fans.

Nonetheless, Newlands should again be packed to the rafters as always. One would swear there’s nothing better to do in the wine lands than watch boring rugby. At the moment I have not a single good thing to say about Alistair Coetzee, Robbie Fleck and their troops. For what seems like eons, supporters have said that a win is a win when the defense held out and shouted to the skies when it didn’t work and their beloved team bit the dust. Now I’m telling you that unless there is a massive mind shift among the coaching staff and players plus an actual plan to “attack” less predictably, the Stormers will never get their hands on this sought-after trophy.
Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi

Jaco Taute makes his return to the fullback birth, bumping Gio Aplon to the wing and Damian de Allende is back in his preferred position in midfield alongside Jean de Villiers. I like the look of this backline a lot more, but will have my doubts about their initiative until proven otherwise. Just one question, why is Louis Schreuder still starting ahead of Nic Groom?

Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and co will be required to up their work rate and urgency. For the sheer amount of class acts this Stormers pack boasts, their last performance was an absolute disgrace. Disappointment is so much worse when the expectations are high. Let’s hope for a considerable improvement before the heads start to roll. They definitely can’t get any worse.

Last week the scoreline in Durban didn’t accurately reflect the match and I thought the Hurricanes did better than the margin suggested. They’ll be able to smooth over the rough edges and their star-studded backline should pose a much bigger threat in the more favourable conditions predicted for Friday night.
Julian Savea

Julian Savea

Right through from number 9 to 15 they’re big, strong and fast and have the ability to offload even when they’re upside-down. They’d have worked on the rusty handling displayed against the Sharks and if the hosts don’t keep the gates closed, they’re capable of slipping through in the blink of an eye. Julian Savea is a devastating speed freak and I bet he’s salivating at the prospect of running right over his smaller opposite number.

My concerns lie within the engine room. Even though they are older on average and collectively more experienced, I think the Stormers will win this area following their rude awakening.

This one’s probably going to go down to the wire and be won by the team with the better goal kicking success rate – Demetri Catrakilis (2/3) and Beauden Barrett (2/2). I’m favouring the home side to narrowly scrape through ahead of their treacherous tour to the land of the long white cloud.

Stormers by 6

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