Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is confident that his lineout will function against the Brumbies despite preparations having been disrupted by this week’s Springbok camp.
The Cape Town side host the Australian title challengers at Newlands on Saturday (17:05) in a match that sees both sides looking to recover from defeats.
The Brumbies have spoken about targeting the Stormers lineout as a possible weakness, but Coetzee was adamant on Thursday that there would be an improvement.
“Yes, our set piece must function. We’re all aware of that. Eben (Etzebeth) is back in the side and I can see there is a steely focus on getting the lineouts right this week,” said Coetzee.
“It was a combination of where it went wrong in the lineout (against the Cheetahs). It’s really not a physical thing, I’d say. I think we’ve done enough work, I’m happy with the work that’s gone into our lineout this week. We had a great session today (Thursday) and then obviously tomorrow (Friday) we’ll have a few spotters again.”
Coetzee emphasised there were other aspects of the Brumbies’ play that also commanded attention, especially their dominance at the set piece and the breakdown.
“They’re a very structured side,” said Coetzee.
“If you look at the stats they’ve probably scored most of their tries from structured play, from set piece play. We’ve got to make sure that we’re accurate in terms of what’s coming - their ball carriers, what they do from lineouts.
“Further out, we know that they’re going to look for territory and they’ve got good kickers in their team.”
“This is quite a physical side as well and they’re hard at the breakdown. I think our challenge will be at the breakdown when we carry ball to make sure that their poachers are beaten by our support runners, and that we get their first and secure our possession.”
The Brumbies were edged 13-10 at home to the Waratahs while the Stormers were stunned 25-17 by the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
It isn’t quite do-or-die yet, but Saturday’s clash is set to have a major say in the bids of both sides for conference supremacy as the play-offs approach.
“It’s still hurting from last week. And like I say you’ve got an opportunity this week to redeem yourself,” Coetzee said.
“We’re a much better side than what we dished up last week.”
“I’m very pleased that the players and the maturity they have shown this week. They know that it is a tough game.
“I’m sure they’ll pitch up this weekend, mentally and physically.”
Coetzee and the Stormers are set to make a final call on the availability of centre Juan de Jongh on Friday, though Coetzee expects his vice-captain to play after recovering from a hip pointer injury.
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh/Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alastair Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones/Pat Howard
15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 JP Smith
Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jorden Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong