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    Tall order for Stormers lineout

    2014-03-06 12:32
    Gavin Rich - SuperSport

    Cape Town - A massive improvement is going to be necessary in the lineouts if the DHL Stormers are to succeed in their “Mission Impossible” by scoring what would be an historic win over the Crusaders in the opening match of their Vodacom Super Rugby tour in Christchurch on Saturday.

    According to the supersport.com website, the multiple-champion Crusaders have started the season poorly and their record of played two and lost two, with not a single bonus point to show for their effort, is inferior to the team from the Cape, who are themselves being criticised from all angles.

    However, one area where the Crusaders have been strong, and where New Zealand rugby generally has been resurgent over the past while, is at the lineouts. Although the Blues beat the Crusaders quite comprehensively in Auckland last weekend, the Crusaders lineout domination was responsible for the handy lead they enjoyed at one stage.

    All Black Sam Whitelock, who must be close to being the best No 5 lock in world rugby at the moment, leads a lineout that also includes the imposing Dominic Bird, who stands 2.06 metres tall, while Luke Romano adds substance from the bench.

    In the past it would have been the Crusaders spending extra time working on combating the Stormers lineout, which was a massive strength for the Newlands based team when Eben Etzebeth and Andries Bekker were packing down together. However, Etzebeth is currently injured and the two metre tall Bekker has left for Japan, leaving a massive hole to fill in the second row.

    The lineouts went okay against the Lions in the opening game, one of the few phases that did work for the visitors on the night, but last week’s match against the Hurricanes was a disaster, with the number of balls lost either to Hurricanes poaches, poor Stormers taps and inaccurate throws preventing them from sustaining pressure on their opponents when in the attack zone and also at times impacting negatively on their exit strategies.

    The Stormers managed to sneak home in the dying minutes when a throw did hit target at an attacking lineout that was set up by a penalty and Deon Fourie dotted down off the driving maul, but the lineout should nonetheless be a massive concern for the Stormers ahead of this match. That is particularly so if you consider the changes that have been made to the second row, with Rynhardt Elstadt flying home to have a shoulder injury seen to and Manuel Carizza out for six to eight weeks with a wrist injury.

    Stormers coach Allister Coetzee though reckons that the inclusion of De Kock Steenkamp will make the necessary difference this week.

    “We are working on fixing what we can at the lineouts, and we have De Kock there, which means the communication should be better,” said Coetzee.

    “We are looking at the system, and it suits De Kock and his style at No 5 lock. There has been a lot of talk and meetings held about the issue (lineouts), and also an indoor session. We will put in more work and make sure we are able to have a platform. We need to get it right to be able to play off that.”

    It was noticeable against the Hurricanes that the Stormers are playing a lot more off the top of the lineout than they were previously, something that is indicative of a quest for a quicker paced game. It may have contributed to the number of untidy taps that stymied the Stormers on the night.

    Michael Rhodes, who is equally at home on the blindside flank and played well as a replacement last week, joins Steenkamp in the second row as the replacement for Elstadt.

    Teams:

    Crusaders

    15 Colin Slade, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Kieron Fonotia

    Stormers

    15  Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau

    Read More On:  stormers super 15 cape town rugby

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