Quotas in SA Sport

What is your take on quotas in SA sport? Join the Sport24 Forum and have your say!


    Stormers in big lineout thrust?

    2012-04-11 14:00
    Post a comment
    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
    Cape Town – So much for suggestions that the Stormers might be tempted to just step off the pedal a little, strategically, and rest some key players for their Super Rugby meeting with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

    Instead the unbeaten log-leaders’ side to tackle the seven-time champions bristles with all the fit bankers at their disposal, particularly in the pack.

    Two of their most valuable but overworked forwards last season, Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen, both of whom almost inevitably succumbed to long-term injury toward the end of the campaign, were whispered by some scribes this week to be possibly in line for a break from starting duty against the ‘Saders.

    But the stalwarts are very much summoned to arms this weekend as the Stormers clearly wish to do everything they can to retain winning momentum and perhaps only tinker with their ranks more meaningfully for the (arguably) lesser tour tasks across the Tasman in Australia – against the Reds and Force respectively.

    The only reason that backline game-breaker Gio Aplon does not start on Saturday, and Nick Koster is not considered for the bench, is that both picked up knocks in the commendable first-up tour victory over the Highlanders  in Dunedin.

    For the rest, Allister Coetzee and his co-strategists have stuck with wheeling out their big guns, with Brok Harris’s superior experience and known strong donkeywork-rate earning him the nod over developing tighthead Frans Malherbe so that the prop combination does not look too “rookie” against the mighty-scrumming Crusaders.

    Interestingly, this match is just beginning to shape as a likely assault of the home team’s powerful scrummage – a cornerstone of their clear-cut semi-final triumph at Newlands last year, let’s not forget – against a multi-option Stormers lineout.

    So whilst the Franks brothers, Wyatt Crockett and others in the ‘Saders front five no doubt relish the chance for as much “crouch, touch, pause, engage” as possible – albeit against a rival eight believed to have stiffened its act in this department in 2012 – expect the Stormers to be happy enough for the ball to go out of play and an array of tall timber to either win their own ball comfortable or pilfer some takes on Corey Flynn’s throw.

    The Stormers lineout does bristle with options, given that the physically unrivalled, 2.08m Bekker stays integral to plans on Saturday and there are effectively two other locks as target options for hooker Tiaan Liebenberg in the shape of Eben Etzebeth and Rynhardt Elstadt, albeit that the latter is having a stint back at blindside flank.

    No 8 Vermeulen is also a quality lineout factor, so the visitors will not expect to play second fiddle at all in this area of play.

    They will also be aware that the Crusaders, a little iffy and inconsistent in overall terms in early-season, are currently adapting to life without their own long-time hard man of the second row, Brad Thorn.

    The 37-year-old World Cup medal-winner last year is having a twilight career in the less demanding environment of Japan, plus a short-term deal with Ireland’s Leinster.

    His absence may be just one reason why the Crusaders currently sport an insecure three-wins-and-three-losses record, and will be in catch-up trouble if they lose this one ...

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk


    18 April 2014
    • Hurricanes v Blues, Wellington 09:35
    • Melbourne Rebels v Western Force, Melbourne 11:40
    19 April 2014
    • Chiefs v Crusaders, Hamilton 09:35
    • Waratahs v Bulls, Sydney 11:40
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 15:00
    • Stormers v Lions, Cape Town 17:05
    25 April 2014
    • Blues v Waratahs, Auckland 07:35
    • Brumbies v Chiefs, Canberra 09:40
    • Sharks v Highlanders, Durban 19:10


    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014


    Rank Team P W Pts


    “The Sharks as SA’s lone playoffs side for the first time in Super Rugby’s conference format is a fair possibility, warns Rob Houwing.”

    Opinion Poll

    Which teams will win the two SA Vodacom Super Rugby derbies (Sharks v Cheetahs and Stormers v Lions) this weekend?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.