McKenzie may unleash Samo
Cape Town – Reds coach, Ewen McKenzie may spring a surprise by including Wallaby veteran Radike Samo in his starting XV against the Stormers at Newlands. on Saturday.
Samo, 36, is in the last year of his contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), before jetting off to Japan, a place Samo spent three years of his career from 2007 - 2010.
The Australian website
reports that Samo will more than likely be recalled to the team to face the Stormers, who have been the best defensive team in Super Rugby since 2010.
However, it is the Reds who boast a more formidable defensive record this campaign, only letting the opposition cross their whitewash 18 times (1.38 tries per match) compared to the 16 times (1.45 tries per match) the Stormers have let the opposition in for a five-pointer.
Samo has only had 30 minutes of Super Rugby action this season, coming back in March against the Hurricanes and the Melbourne Rebels before he injured his knee.
But what could count in Samo's favour is that he was part of the Reds team who beat the Stormers at Newlands two years ago, a good omen by McKenzie’s reckoning.
"On that occasion we kept them at their end of the field because we happened to get ahead on the scoreboard and they didn't have the capacity then to score long-range tries," McKenzie said.
Samo has a knack for breaking defensive lines, something McKenzie is mindful of and hoping to exploit. By contrast, breaking the opposition defensive line is something the Stormers have only managed to do on 39 occasions this season, the lowest tally by any Super Rugby team this season.
On the other hand, the Reds don’t have much more going for them in the try-scoring department when compared to the Stormers. Even though the Stormers have only managed 20 tries this season, the Reds haven’t fared much better, scoring only six more, whilst playing an extra two matches.
The match promises to be a battle of attrition, something the rugged old warhorse Samo will definitely relish.