In no time at all the Sharks
had propelled themselves into a good lead - 12-0 after 10 minutes - and
their dominance of the contestable kicks played a big part in a
comfortable 22-12 half-time lead before eventually winning 33-19.
Blues managed to isolate Stormers fullback Dillyn Leyds a few too many
times for comfort when they won comfortably at Newlands the last time
the Cape side took the field and the vision of the Sharks' kicking game
exposing Stormers vulnerabilities at the back might have kept coach John
Dobson awake at night during his team's break for their bye.
as Stormers defence coach Norman Laker pointed out at the start of the
build-up week to Saturday's big game, the Stormers back three has
generally been good in the aerial battles this season.
Sharks' kick and chase was excellent against the Jaguares and we saw how
many contestables they won back, they are a real threat in that regard,
but we have been good this season when contesting the ball in the air
through wings Seabelo (Senatla) and Sergeal (Petersen), and also
Dillyn," said Laker.
"I wouldn't say that is a weakness of ours
and we also contest hard in the air to win back turn-overs. They are
very good at it tough, we saw that against the Jaguares. The first 12
points came from contestables that the Sharks got back. But getting the
ball back out of the air is also a strength of ours so it should be a
"Dillyn did get isolated by the Blues but that was
largely because they managed to get through the gainline with their
carries. It isn't just Dillyn, that can happen to any fullback in that
concurred with Laker that there was no reason the Stormers should feel
they need to fear what the Sharks can do with their kick attack.
think we have been doing quite well, and on a personal level I think I
let myself down in one game otherwise I am happy with my game," said
"We've done well in the air, and we know we will have to
be at the top of our game in that area on Saturday. My experience of
Durban at this time of the year is that it is often humid and most times
the ball is slippery, which is probably why they kick so much.
Hopefully there will be a bit of wind to negate the humidity, but I also
know from experience that when the wind blows at Kings Park there is a
swirl that can make fielding kicks difficult.
"I wouldn't say
this game is personal for me. I don't approach my rugby like that, I
take one game at a time and don't focus too much on who I am playing
against. But obviously I watched the World Cup and saw how Mapimps
(Makazole Mapimpi) and Lukhanyo (Am) did there and what has been
impressive is the way they have carried that form into Super Rugby. I
like playing against the best and they are the best."
Both Senatla and Laker were in agreement that the Stormers' failure in the Blues game was a mental one more than physical.
were a whole lot of small things, like it being a hot day and us
wearing black jerseys which attract heat in that game, but we just
didn't pitch. You could see it in the way we defended even," said the
"It was a mental thing. Our captain Steven Kitshoff
said it afterwards. We didn't look sharp even in our warm-up before the
game and we dropped a couple of balls."
They were then hit at the
start of the match with a ferocious onslaught from a Blues team that,
while not up to that point making a habit of winning, did boast good
stats when it came to some key elements of attacking rugby.
"It is tough to say exactly what went wrong in that game but I must say it was a very good Blues team we ran into," said Laker.
before they played us they were the team boasting the most dominant
carries and also the quickest ruck ball in the competition. We knew what
was coming and we committed ourselves to stopping them but it just
didn’t happen. They showed how good they are again this past weekend
when they beat the Hurricanes.
"But we definitely didn’t defend as
well as we should have. There were quite a few things to fix after that
game and we feel we have come up with a few plans for the Sharks. Maybe
it was just one game too many in five against the Blues, or maybe it
was just that they surprised us with how good their carries were and
before we knew it we were 14-0 down, a situation we had not been in
prior to that this season."
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