Vodacom Super 14

Mortlock the weakest link?

2009-04-08 07:07
Stirling Mortlock (File)

Stephen Nell - Die Burger

Cape Town - Wallaby star Stirling Mortlock is the weak link in the Brumbies’ defence the Stormers should look to exploit in Saturday’s Super 14 match in Canberra.

Such a statement may be greeted with disbelief, but according to Hawies Fourie the Cheetahs attacked Mortlock successfully in the weekend’s 27-40 defeat in Bloemfontein.

Mortlock weighs 102kg and is a physical player. However, he also turns 32 in May.

“Mortlock is now a slow outside centre. We twice attacked successfully on his outside,” said Fourie, who is the Cheetahs’ backline coach.

“Teams tend to attack Christian Leiliifano (flyhalf) because he is a little smaller, but he defends well. I would rather attack Mortlock.”

Fourie believes the Stormers have physical backs such as Peter Grant, Jean de Villiers and Gcobani Bobo than can create momentum by attacking Lealiifano’s channel.

The Stormers have not been up to scratch on attack. They have, however, on tour played against the Crusaders and Waratahs, who both defend exceptionally well.

“It can all turn in one game,” said Fourie, who was a Stormers assistant coach in 2006.

“It’s often about your approach. The Stormers defend very well and you can see Brendan Venter’s hand. It is, of course, easier to defend when you play conservatively. The Stormers have the players to attack off first phase a lot more.

“Sireli Naqelevuki did not have a good game against the Waratahs, but the Stormers can use him a lot more in midfield. You can use him to attack the line or as a dummy runner.

“Wylie Human no longer has a great deal of pace, but is still difficult to bring down.

“The Stormers should take more risks. They should move the ball wider from set-pieces and bring more variation to their attack. A small adjustment in their approach can yield big results.”

Not many changes are expected when the Stormers announce their side on Wednesday. JD Moller can replace Wicus Blaauw at loosehead prop. Blaauw left the field against the Waratahs with a leg injury.

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