Stormers v Brumbies: 5 key areas

    2015-05-08 15:20

    Herman Mostert - Sport24

    Cape Town - The Stormers host the Brumbies in a crucial Super Rugby encounter at Newlands on Saturday.

    It’s a crucial game for both sides, with the loser expected to find the going tough to make the playoffs.

    The last three matches between these sides have all been won by 10 or more points, with the Stormers picking up two 13-point victories but losing the most recent meeting 25-15 in Canberra last year.

    Here follows 5 key areas that may decide the outcome of the clash:

    1. Breakdown

    The Brumbies are renowned for their prowess at the breakdown area, with ace fetcher David Pocock again a menace for teams in this year’s competition.

    Whether their tactics are always legal at the breakdown remains open for debate and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee hinted as much at Thursday’s press conference.

    “I don’t know if you guys recall an article from last year or the year before when (Stephen) Larkham (Brumbies coach) spoke about them not being cheaters... I read that when I was overseas and I wondered why he had referred to that.

    "There was a lot of heat on referees at the breakdown then, obviously, and I think there was a school of thought that they got away with murder at the breakdown."

    “That’s why I’m happy that a referee like Stuart Berry has the capabilities of having a look at it.”

    The Stormers will nevertheless have their hands full to guard against Pocock and players like Scott Fardy and Stephen Moore.

    As was the case last week, Schalk Burger has another tough task on hand, attempting to fulfil the dual role of ball carrier and fetcher.

    2. Scrums

    The Stormers scrum is being tipped as the strongest in the competition this season and the hosts will be looking to dominate their opponents in this area again on Saturday.

    Props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff would fancy their chances against JP Smith and Ben Alexander respectively.

    Kitshoff’s impact has been immense this season and his absence was felt last week against the Cheetahs, while Malherbe has grown in stature since returning from an ankle injury.

    Vincent Koch and Alastair Vermaak will likely also be brought on in the second stanza, with particularly Koch proving to be a vital impact player this season.

    3. Lineouts

    As good as the Stormers scrum has been this season, their lineout has been a shambles.

    According to SANZAR's official statistics, the Stormers are the second-worst on their own lineout throws (78.3% success rate) in the competition, while the Brumbies are at the top of the pile (91.1%).

    Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham made no secret of the fact that they will be looking to exploit the Stormers' weak area.

    "They've fared poorly at lineout time in their last few games and it's a facet we've already studied," Larkham said earlier this week.

    "The Stormers are opting for shorter lineouts because they are inconsistent. The reasons for that are a combination of lineout calls, movement and throw-ins. It's also a facet of the game where you can blow hot and cold from week to week."

    The Stormers will welcome the return of lock Eben Etzebeth for this weekend's clash which should help in their quest to improve at lineout time.

    However, hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni also have to improve their throw-ins.

    Their weak lineout has contributed to the Stormers’ lack of tries as it robs the team of a crucial launch-pad to attack.

    4. Substitutions

    When and where both coaches will decide bring on reinforcements could play a major part in the outcome of the game.

    Stormers coach Allister Coetzee got it all wrong when he replaced Demetri Catrakilis with Kurt Coleman at half-time in their 25-17 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.

    It was a decision which backfired as Coleman missed no fewer than four very kickable penalty attempts that would in all likelihood won the game for the Stormers, who did well to fight back from 18-3 down to trail by only one point.

    If the game is tight, Coetzee cannot gamble bringing Coleman on. Catrakilis has succeeded with his last 27 attempts at goal, and his presence late on may prove vital.

    The Brumbies are expected to struggle at scrum time. If that proves to be the case, Larkham’s timing in bringing on Allan Alaalatoa and Ruan Smith could be crucial.

    5. Battle of the scrumhalves

    The Brumbies will welcome the return of Nic White from an ankle injury. He is a tactically shrewd player and is expected to get the better of Nic Groom.

    Groom’s form has been adequate this season, but he perhaps lacks the vision, pace and skill of a world class No 9.

    The Stormers backs need sharper service from their No 9s if they are to improve as an attacking unit...



    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh/Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alastair Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones/Pat Howard


    15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 JP Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jorden Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong

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