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
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
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
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
“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.
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
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