Stormers will avoid a 'dog fight'
Johannesburg - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has faith in the strength of referee Jaco Peyper to make the right calls and reckons that will mitigate against the chances of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinal becoming a repeat of the tempestuous league match against the Brumbies at Newlands.
According to supersport.com, Stuart Berry was in charge when the Brumbies visited Cape Town seven weeks ago and while he came down hard on the visitors in the second half, it was felt that it took him too long to get tough on the many off-the-ball incidents that dominated the first half and led to several flare-ups between the teams.
That match was crucial to both teams in terms of both their respective conference standings and the battle for second position overall and the inside lane to a home semifinal. The Brumbies came with a clear intent to niggle the Stormers and put them off their stride, with even normally highly disciplined players such as Stephen Moore being repeatedly involved in incidents.
Of course the ploy nearly worked for the Brumbies as it was only a missed Christian Lealiifano conversion of what should have been a match winning try that denied them victory, so it doesn’t require too much of a leap in the imagination to assume that we could see a repeat of the ill-tempered encounter this Saturday.
However, forewarned is fore-armed, and Coetzee is adamant that the Stormers will be ready for whatever is thrown at them and won’t get drawn into something that will deflect their focus in this crucial game.
“Jaco Peyper is refereeing the game and he is a ref who is prepared to make the big calls and ensure that a team does not keep transgressing in the same way,” said Coetzee.
“He is a consistent referee. The big thing is we know they have line speed on defence and that they attack the breakdown. We must just focus on our game and let the referee get on with it. If they transgress, they transgress, and hopefully the referee will look after that. If it is legal, we don’t have a problem with that, for you expect a quarterfinal to be physically intense.”
While Coetzee says his team will be legal, and he makes a lot of the fact that his men were one of the least penalised sides in the league phase this year, he leaves no doubt that there will be a big physical effort from the home team.
“We will be looking at big physical intensity. We know we will miss our regular captain Duane Vermeulen in that regard, but we beat the Waratahs in Sydney without him earlier in the season, and I don’t think the Brumbies are more physical than the Waratahs.
“Knock-out matches are different to league matches. You only get one shot at it, you have to be on your game and you have to ensure you dominate physically from the outset. To ask players to be physical in the quarters is to express an understatement.”
“There will always be edge in every game, and particularly in a knock-out match. But off the ball stuff is not good for the spectacle. We want to play positive rugby, so we won’t allow ourselves to get drawn into a dog fight, we will not be drawn into off the ball stuff. We have been one of the least penalised teams in the competition and we need to keep it that way now that the business end has arrived.”