Gold: Forwards will front

Gary Gold believes his underrated forwards are good enough to match the Bully Boys.

Gold told keo.co.za there’s a misconception regarding the Stormers pack. The Cape franchise are perennially slated for their shortcomings up front, but after three rounds in this year’s Super 14, the Stormers assistant coach is adamant there are no problems. As seen in the 14-8 defeat to the Blues, the Stormers have only their poor finishing to blame for their current log standing.

“Johan van Wyk has done plenty of work with the scrum and we’re reasonably happy with that department,” Gold said. “If you look at how we dominated territory and possession last Saturday, I don’t think you can accuse the forwards of laying a poor platform. It was more a case of missing those try-scoring chances.

“We’re unbelievably disappointed and frustrated – more so than any Stormers fans out there. There’s plenty to improve in the forward department this week, but it’s more about finishing once we’ve created those opportunities. We need to turn those chances into points.”

The Bulls top the table after three rounds while the Stormers have one win from three. It will be a tough ask to go to Pretoria and bag the win, but after dropping two games at home, the Stormers are in a must-win situation.

“The Blues were very physical, but it’s an even tougher challenge this week,” said Gold. “Our track record’s not very good at Loftus and that crowd can influence proceedings. We know what to expect, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

“They should have Victor Matfield back and the rest of their forwards are always very physical in contact. Pierre Spies has been fantastic thus far, and then you have Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter, two players who possess an unbelievable energy.

“The fact that they are keeping a Springbok like Pedrie Wannenburg out of the starting line-up is something. It shows Frans Ludeke is willing to trust in his younger players, but it also showcases the tremendous depth at the Bulls. Both Deon and Dewald will be a handful this Saturday.”

Gold said he was confident JD Moller and Brian Mujati are not seriously injured. The two props should be fine to front the Bulls, but there is still concern over Stormers talisman Schalk Burger.

Should the Bok flanker fail to recover from a calf niggle Francois Louw may come off the bench to win a start.

“We still need to discuss the options,” said Gold. “You also have guys like Pieter Louw and Pieter Myburgh who are champing at the bit.”

Luke Watson may also move to No 6 in a back row reshuffle with Francois Louw at 7 and Duane Vermeulen at 8. The Stormers managment will make the call before Wednesday.

By Jon Cardinelli