The Stormers will reveal the lie in the perception that their tight five is powderpuff on Saturday, according to loosehead prop JD Moller.
Speaking to keo.co.za, the Cape side’s first-choice loosehead stated his determination to change the commonly-held belief against the Cats.
“We are not going out to surprise anyone, we are playing for ourselves,” Moller stated. “By doing that, we will surprise a lot of okes. We have quality in our second row, both our locks are amongst the most promising in the country, and all three of us [Ross Skeate, Andries Bekker and Moller] came through the junior ranks here at Province together.
“I share the front row with two Springboks. We’re lucky to have Shimmie and Eddie … I mean look at Eddie’s record. In 2004, he played at tighthead and the Boks won the Tri-Nations and the Stormers made the Super 12 semis. That’s got to say something. What’s important on Saturday is that we play as a unit, then we will be more than competitive.”
Moller was honest when revealing if the scathing criticism of the Stormers tight forwards affected him.
“We can’t put too much pressure on ourselves, that’s not condusive to performing well. So we’re not. All I will say is that we will play our hearts out.”
Moller’s sporadic experience of last year’s Super 12 means this is no new odyssey, but it is the first year he has been entrusted with a starting berth from game one.
“I’m very excited. It’s the beginning of a season and the first time I’m starting the first game, so this is a good opportunity for me. There’s no use denying that if we want to challenge for the Super 14, our tight five have to perform. We have to be good in the lineouts, and clean rucks aggressively. My primary roles of scrumming and tight forward play are very important, and I expect nothing else from myself other than excellence.”
Moller spent the last half of last year under the pupillage of Federico Mendez, with the Argentine stating before he left that Moller had the potential to become a world-class prop forward.
“The great thing about Federico was his experience, he’s played in virtually every rugby country. I learnt a lot from him, and he taught me especially how to relax in big games and ensure my focus doesn’t drift. He brought such different techniques to the pack, and we’ll be using some of them on Saturday, whilst we’ve built and modified others.”
Moller will scrum against veteran tighthead Marius Hurter, and is expecting no favours from the old campaigner.
“He’s been around the block hasn’t he? I have a lot of respect for Marius. I’ve scrummed against him before and he’s a tough opponent, and is obviously very experienced. I have my work cut out, but I’m very confident I’m up to it.”