Vodacom Super 14
Stormers out to beat the Blues
Francois Louw (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – How do you stop Blues dangermen such as Rene Ranger, Joe Rokocoko and Isaia Toeava?
The answer to this pressing question that the Stormers have to confront in Saturday’s Super 14 match at Eden Park in Auckland is rather simple, but the execution is something the Bulls could not manage at the weekend.
“We’ll have to stand up physically,” said tough-as-teak Stormers flanker Francois Louw.
“We have the players in our team to do it and a proven record on defence.”
That record comes down to the Stormers having conceded only 75 points in seven games.
However, another weak performance like the one against the Western Force in Perth may lead to that statistic looking a lot less impressive as the Blues are better equipped to punish a team that is performing below par.
“It was very disappointing and we simply did not establish a platform or momentum to play off. We have reviewed footage and it comes down to execution,” said Louw.
“The Blues were superb against the Bulls. They are a very physical side.”
Fortunately the Stormers will not be squaring up to All Black props Tony Woodcock and John Afoa.
The New Zealand Herald reports that both are injured, and this means that relatively inexperienced props in Charlie Faumuina and Tevita Mailau will front the Blues’ scrum.
Both, however, played without major problems against the Bulls after Mailau already replaced the injured Afoa on 18 minutes.
Louw is looking forward to the loose forward battle where he will be up against All Black loose forward Jerome Kaino.
Kaino’s colleague at No 8, Viliami Ma’afu was also among the Blues’ standout players against the Bulls.
“They have excellent loose forwards and it’s a great match in which to measure yourself. It’s going to be a big challenge,” said the hardworking Stormers flank.
While Louw has played consistently well this year, the Stormers let themselves down as a team last Friday.
“I am very disappointed and we set high standards as a team,” said Louw.
“It was very disappointing to lose the game in such a manner. We were well below form and need to redeem ourselves.”
The Stormers will announce their team on Wednesday and the expectation is that Dewaldt Duvenage will return at scrumhalf and Juan de Jongh at inside centre.
Meanwhile, Blues coach Pat Lam expects the Stormers to pose a big challenge to his team’s defence.
“They have great players that can hurt you – guys like Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Ricky Januarie and Schalk Burger are terrific players,” Lam told the New Zealand Herald.