Stormers focus on breakdown
Cape Town - Stormers forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot says their focus against the Cheetahs at Newlands this weekend will be on the breakdown area.
The Cape side came off second best in this department earlier in the season when the Cheetahs claimed a last-gasp 26-24
win in Bloemfontein.
Proudfoot, in an interview with the Cape Times
, feels the Stormers lost that game because they were unable to win the gain-line battle and secure possession on the ground.
The coach said he is especially wary of the danger posed by flank Heinrich Brüssow and centre Robert Ebersohn at the breakdown. Therefore, Deon Fourie will remain at flank, alongside new Springbok Siya Kolisi
and Nizaam Carr at No 8.
"It's not the number that makes a difference - it's more about the roles that they provide. Deon plays more towards the ball," said Proudfoot. "I don't know if it will be about Heinrich proving a point to the Springbok coach, as their team culture is very well-defined, and they play well for each other.
"He plays a similar role to what Deon does for us. Obviously he looks to turn over a lot of ball, and so does Ebersohn. So, we will have to be very good with our cleaners, and be very accurate and forceful there.
"The contact point and tackle is vital - we need gain-line dominance. That's an area we have focused on hard, and we want improvement in that department from the previous game, where there were a lot of turnovers in the contact point. If we are creating attacking opportunities, we can't give them away because our breakdown work isn't good enough. That is what we took out of the last game against the Cheetahs."
The referee in that game in Bloemfontein, Stuart Berry, gave a controversial penalty against Damian de Allende at a ruck when the centre had won the ball in the dying moments. Cheetahs flyhalf Burton Francis kicked the penalty to hand his side the win.
Ironically, Berry will have the whistle again at Newlands on Saturday...