Vodacom Super Rugby
Stormers back their backline
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Stormers are backing their backline to finally come good against the Blues in their Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Friday evening. Kick-off is at 19:10.
After two outings, the Stormers have notched up as many wins, thanks largely to the imposing performances of their forwards.
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers has called on the backs to "do their part" against the Blues.
"So far this season it has not been good for the backline as a unit, and the way that we would like to play," De Villiers said.
"I think the forwards have really pulled us through the first two games and it is time for us to do our part as well. Rugby is essentially a team sport and you want the team to do well as a collective unit, but as an individual unit you want to combine well.
"We have not yet seen that so we have worked hard and we are hoping for an improvement on Friday."
He is, however, concerned that after their bye last week, the side may struggle to regain their winning momentum.
"Obviously we worked hard last week (when we had a bye) for our four points so we are looking forward to the game," De Villiers said jokingly.
"In the past we often haven’t played well after a bye but we want to rectify that."
The role of the referee and the policing of the breakdowns raised concerns ahead of the match, more so because penalties are determining the outcome of matches more than ever.
Last week, rookie flyhalf Gareth Anscombe knocked over five penalties in his side's shock 29-23 win over the Bulls, while Peter Grant slotted over a touchline penalty for his side's narrow 15-12 win over the Sharks in their last outing.
"There are rules and both teams play under the same rules," said De Villiers.
"It's the way that you adapt to it and the way that you play on the day. If it means that you have to maybe defend a little bit more, then so be it."
Blues coach Pat Lam said players needed to get a feel for the referees and the way they interpreted the rules.
"Sometimes it's called cheating, but it is about what the referee allows, so the onus is on the player to adapt and understand what the referee wants," said Lam.
"There are so many different ways you can play this game and I think it is important as a team to be able to adapt to any style. You cannot afford to have just one way of playing because you will get shut down at this level."
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever
15 Lachie Munro, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tom McCartney
Substitutes: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Brad Mika, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Hadleigh Parkes, 22 Ben Lam