Stormers in big lineout thrust?

2012-04-11 14:00

Cape Town – So much for suggestions that the Stormers might be tempted to just step off the pedal a little, strategically, and rest some key players for their Super Rugby meeting with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Instead the unbeaten log-leaders’ side to tackle the seven-time champions bristles with all the fit bankers at their disposal, particularly in the pack.

Two of their most valuable but overworked forwards last season, Andries Bekker and Duane Vermeulen, both of whom almost inevitably succumbed to long-term injury toward the end of the campaign, were whispered by some scribes this week to be possibly in line for a break from starting duty against the ‘Saders.

But the stalwarts are very much summoned to arms this weekend as the Stormers clearly wish to do everything they can to retain winning momentum and perhaps only tinker with their ranks more meaningfully for the (arguably) lesser tour tasks across the Tasman in Australia – against the Reds and Force respectively.

The only reason that backline game-breaker Gio Aplon does not start on Saturday, and Nick Koster is not considered for the bench, is that both picked up knocks in the commendable first-up tour victory over the Highlanders  in Dunedin.

For the rest, Allister Coetzee and his co-strategists have stuck with wheeling out their big guns, with Brok Harris’s superior experience and known strong donkeywork-rate earning him the nod over developing tighthead Frans Malherbe so that the prop combination does not look too “rookie” against the mighty-scrumming Crusaders.

Interestingly, this match is just beginning to shape as a likely assault of the home team’s powerful scrummage – a cornerstone of their clear-cut semi-final triumph at Newlands last year, let’s not forget – against a multi-option Stormers lineout.

So whilst the Franks brothers, Wyatt Crockett and others in the ‘Saders front five no doubt relish the chance for as much “crouch, touch, pause, engage” as possible – albeit against a rival eight believed to have stiffened its act in this department in 2012 – expect the Stormers to be happy enough for the ball to go out of play and an array of tall timber to either win their own ball comfortable or pilfer some takes on Corey Flynn’s throw.

The Stormers lineout does bristle with options, given that the physically unrivalled, 2.08m Bekker stays integral to plans on Saturday and there are effectively two other locks as target options for hooker Tiaan Liebenberg in the shape of Eben Etzebeth and Rynhardt Elstadt, albeit that the latter is having a stint back at blindside flank.

No 8 Vermeulen is also a quality lineout factor, so the visitors will not expect to play second fiddle at all in this area of play.

They will also be aware that the Crusaders, a little iffy and inconsistent in overall terms in early-season, are currently adapting to life without their own long-time hard man of the second row, Brad Thorn.

The 37-year-old World Cup medal-winner last year is having a twilight career in the less demanding environment of Japan, plus a short-term deal with Ireland’s Leinster.

His absence may be just one reason why the Crusaders currently sport an insecure three-wins-and-three-losses record, and will be in catch-up trouble if they lose this one ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • Ken - 2012-04-11 14:08

    Go Stormers

      Lionel - 2012-04-11 14:11

      Thats the spirit Ken:):)

      Jason - 2012-04-11 15:09

      Goooooooooo! Stormers!!!!!!! I also have spirit! 750mls

      Lionel - 2012-04-11 15:19

      LMAO@Jason,good one hehehe

      Jason - 2012-04-11 16:09

      Raven I will BS about rugby, you can even have a go at my beloved Stormers but if you start on my Tassies we are no longer friends!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-12 02:17

      Jason one Eye The Spirit of Tokolos will be the only thing that you will have come 2 June. Tokolos will haunt you and you will have nightmares about STORMING BULLS that night. Bull Champion Greetings from, The Tokolos!

  • Lionel - 2012-04-11 14:13

    Stormers must not focus entirely on the Saders forwards,that backline of theirs is very dangerous...good luck my boys..Stormers by 4 points!!!!!

      Jason - 2012-04-11 15:10

      I think its going to be business as usual, use the forwards to bash it up when we have the ball or kick for territory. When they have the ball, massive defence and pressure them into a mistake, then counter attack with the backline!

      Jason - 2012-04-11 16:09

      @Fake Saffa, i see you still dont have any knew material!

      Jason - 2012-04-11 16:10


      Dirk - 2012-04-11 16:29

      @ Saffa - Hou so aan, ek is seker Jason sal jou gat so hard skop dat jou vrou nege maande later geboorte sal gee aan sy voet.

      Japjapjap - 2012-04-11 16:33

      @Saffa- moenie di oros mannetjie spot ni... hahaha

      Lionel - 2012-04-11 16:36

      No Jap,that nickname is reserved for JJ Harmse!!!!!!

      Tokolos - 2012-04-12 02:18

      Jason One Eye You rather mean play the up & under game, defend like crazy and hope that the backline gets a lucky bounce to attack by their “speedsters” pouncing on a loose ball in open play. They surely lack innovation to create any form of attack in the backline don’t they? Tokolos was just thinking to himself. No harm intended. 3 Time Super Rugby Bull Champion Greetings from, The Tokolos!

  • Massey - 2012-04-11 14:50

    Go Stormers. Just keep your focus the whole game and keep that iron wall defense up!!!

  • Saffa - 2012-04-11 14:52

    Who are the Stormers?

      Colin - 2012-04-11 14:53

      Yes who ?????????????

      Ken - 2012-04-11 15:04

      SA side playing NZ side. Must support the home boys. Even if you are a Bulls fan

      Hanjo - 2012-04-11 15:08

      The only remaining unbeaten side in the 2012 Super 15

      Lionel - 2012-04-11 15:20

      Raven,the team that beat your team on the 31 March 2012:):)

      Saffa - 2012-04-11 15:22

      @Hanjo The 16 year cupless team you wanted to say. Soon to be 17.

      Lionel - 2012-04-11 15:28

      Raven,it should have been 10 points,that pass to meisiekind was forward!!!

      Robsschele - 2012-04-11 15:42

      It seems like all passes to WO are forward. Go Stormers. Try and get your bonus point. Not by losing like other teams but by scoring 4 tries.

      Jahendel - 2012-04-11 15:58

      @ Saffa Daai perd is al holrug gery...

      Jahendel - 2012-04-11 15:59

      @Saffa We are the STORMERS!!!!

      Robsschele - 2012-04-11 16:08

      @Blue. It will be nice to see the Stormers score 4 tries. They do have the problem of not being able to cross the goal line. I think they should always go for a scrum near the goal line. That way they will keep Brok Harris out of the back line.

      Dirk - 2012-04-11 16:32

      @ Rob, WO would make an excellent wide receiver in the NFL. He’s a forward pass-catching specialist!

      Dirk - 2012-04-11 16:41

      Not at all, I think WO is cool. Compliment, he could make millions over there.

      Johan - 2012-04-11 18:04

      @Japjapjap....miskien alles waar...en ja 16jaar sonder 'n beker....MAAR...hulle het nog steeds die pink versies gewen

      Johan - 2012-04-11 18:04

      wys jou hoe sleg is die spanne wat teen hulle verloor

      Melt - 2012-04-11 18:21

      @ Saffa en Japjap jap.........Die Stormers is die span wat julle voorspel het sleg tweede gaan kom teen julle ysters van die Noorde. Dit is die span wat glo met 10 + sou verloor het , ja die span wat deur Spies en travante vernietig sou word en wat toe baie slegter verloor het as wat die telling voorgee. Ja die enigste span wat nog wedstryd die jaar in die Super 15 verloor het nie en ook die span wat nog nooit laaste in die kompetisie geeindig het nie. Die SA span waarop julle trots moet wees en moet ondersteun ....natuurlik saam met julle geliefde Bulle. Dit wil voorkom of Japgat vanaf Robbeneiland skryf??? Saffa ons het mos gese die eerste fase na skok is ontkenning....nee man beweeg aan en kom oor dit al jou ander Bul ondersteuners het. Hulle het vrede gemaak met die verloor en soos ons die Bulle onderst onderst hulle die Stormers. Groete

      Piet - 2012-04-11 20:14

      Your Masters

  • Stephan - 2012-04-12 08:34

    In close games like these its often only grit,determination en the will to win that makes the who will bet against the Stormers?

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