Stormers hope to lift game

    2013-04-30 14:30

    Johannesburg - After opening their tour of Australasia with a win over the Hurricanes at the weekend, Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot says they are looking to improve their all-round performance this week in an effort to maintain momentum.

    The Stormers, in 10th place in the Vodacom Super Rugby standings, square up against the Blues in Albany, New Zealand, on Friday.

    "We weren't quite where we wanted to be against the Hurricanes," Proudfoot said.

    "Some things we did pretty well, but other areas did not go so well for us... we watched the Blues against the Reds and saw their intensity, so we know that we have to be at our best for what is going to be a really big challenge.

    "We're looking forward to facing the Blues. We're training well... the team is in a very good space.

    "It's all about making sure that the detail is there and then accepting the challenge against one of the traditional powerhouses of New Zealand rugby. It's going to be exciting and a big challenge for the boys."

    According to reports, veteran Blues hooker Keven Mealamu was set to return to the starting line-up this week, and Proudfoot believed his combination with fellow All Black Ali Williams would be crucial for the hosts, lying fifth in the overall table.

    "Keven Mealamu is probably the most experienced hooker in New Zealand rugby at the moment," Proudfoot said.

    "He played his 100th match at Newlands last year. He's really experienced.

    "Ali Williams is really fantastic at the lineout, but I think they're a side that can test us both at scrum and line-out time.

    "More than that, there's that proud tradition of the Blues. I remember playing against them back in 1996/97, when they were the champions.

    "They're an unbelievable Super Rugby franchise. It's going to be a big challenge on all levels."

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