Reds to silence noisy crowd?
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - Ewen McKenzie, coach of 2011 Super Rugby champions the Reds, has issued a rallying call to his charges to “keep the crowd quiet” when his playoffs-seeking men tackle the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday (17:05).
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday, the former Wallabies front-ranker said the tradition-steeped venue “boasts the largest and noisiest regular-season crowds of the tournament and is a bloody hard place to play”.
He added: “We need to keep the crowd quiet if we want to be successful – no easy task in such a busy and vibrant place.
“Life down here (in Cape Town) is big, bold and complicated ... and that’s even before you take on the Stormers.
“Table Top Mountain (sic) is a prominent landmark that dominates life here ... it’s so damn big that the locals will never have to worry about finding a house with mountain views as you can’t help but be encapsulated by its magnitude.”
But the shrewd strategist wants his team to take heart from the result in their last visit to Newlands, two years ago.
“We were in the same (Newlands-located) hotel two years ago when we were expected to lose to the rarely-defeated Stormers – we won 19-6 before going on to win the title.”
McKenzie says he does have certain unpleasant memories of trips to the Cape.
“I think I ran disciplinary proceedings from the very same room I am in now, eventually seeing the player return home, (when) one of them vomited in a pot plant.”
The injury-hit Stormers will be largely playing for pride in the latest contest, having lost three matches in a row to fall well off the playoffs radar.
But the Reds are also under pressure to return to winning ways as they lost their first SA tour fixture to the Cheetahs last weekend.*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing