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    Stormers brace for onslaught

    2012-03-14 21:32

    Herman Mostert

    Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee expects the Blues to target their set pieces when they clash at Newlands on Friday night.

    The Blues were impressive in that department last week when they beat the Bulls 29-23 at Loftus Versfeld.

    "We saw last week how they put the Bulls under pressure at set piece.

    "They'll come (out) to disrupt our scrums and our lineouts; so accuracy for us is very important this weekend, especially set-piece accuracy," Coetzee said via a video clip on the Stormers' Facebook page.

    The Capetonians should, however, back themselves in those departments.

    With Andries Bekker at 2,08m and Eben Etzebeth at 2,03m, the Stormers boast one of the tallest second row combinations in world rugby and their scrums - so often their Achilles heel in recent years - also seem to be an ever-improving aspect of their game.

    In fact, it was their scrum which pulled them through against the Sharks two weeks ago. Youngsters Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe were instrumental in the latter stages of that game, laying the platform for flyhalf Peter Grant to kick a late winning penalty.

    The 20-year-old Kitshoff, especially, made headlines when he troubled seasoned Springbok Jannie du Plessis.

    "The scrums were a big factor in our victory. We were criticised for our scrumming in the warm-up matches but it's nice to see how positively the front row and pack responded," Coetzee was reported as saying after the 15-12 win over the Sharks.

    Loosehead Kitshoff will again start against the Blues, with Brok Harris starting at tighthead but Coetzee will hope to again add Malherbe to the mix later in the game.

    The coach also emphasised the need for extra physicality, especially against the Kiwis.

    "You can't afford to make mistakes against any New Zealand side, but I think the long and short of it is you've got to be physical.

    "We've got to make sure that we're direct and (earn) the right to go wide once we've gained forward momentum," said Coetzee.

    The clash at Newlands kicks off at 19:10 on Friday.

    Teams:

    Stormers:

    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

    Blues:

    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.

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