The trademark running style has been shelved as the Stormers look to limit the Lions by playing a smarter territory-based game at Newlands.
The Willem de Waal selection would have given as much away, as the Stormers flyhalf played a conservative brand up at Loftus Versfeld last week. Backline coach Allister Coetzee told keo.co.za to expect more of the same at Newlands as the Stormers strive for a win by suffocation.
“We have to play the game in the right areas and territory is going to be all important,” Coetzee said. “I think in last year’s Super 14 match, we made the mistake of trying to play too much rugby in the first half and so ran out of steam in the second.
“This Saturday will be about building an innings. The first priority is to win, even if it means winning ugly. The four tries is very much a secondary concern and something we will only consider if the opportunity arises.”
Coetzee praised De Waal for his performance at Loftus and believes the former Cheetahs sharpshooter will have a telling say in this week’s bout. The kicking games of Ricky Januarie and Percy Montgomery are just as important to the Stormers’ success.
“It helps that Willem gets such good distance on his punts, especially if you are playing for territory,” Coetzee said. “Monty’s left boot will help in our quest to dominate territory, and Ricky has been kicking well too.
“We have to make sure we are accurate this week and that the kicks are contestable. We’ve worked a lot on our kick chase, and our defence has to be very sharp.”
Much will depend on the performance of the Stormers pack in the tight-phases, but the hosts need to curb Baywatch Grobbelaar at the breakdown. The Lions will look to frustrate the Stormers in this area and are capable of counterattacking once their loosies have effected the steal.
Their decision-makers will also have to be shut down, their two flyhalves in particular.
“Both Andre Pretorius and Earl Rose are gamebreakers that we need to keep a close eye on,” said Coetzee. “You’re never quite sure if they’re going to run, pass or chip the line. Our defence has been good, as we realise the threat these players present.”
By Jon Cardinelli