The Stormers will sharpen their tactical kicking after a shocking display in Christchurch.
Last Saturday’s 11-7 scoreline suggests a hard-fought game, but the visitors will lament their poor decision-making and limp attack. Assistant coach Gary Gold put this impotency down to the Cape franchise’s failure to play rugby in opposition territory, a formula favoured in the last three games.
‘You have to look at our attack in perspective,’ Gold told keo.co.za. ‘We defended exceptionally well and I think the Crusaders did well to score their try, but so did we. They are not a team that concedes a lot of tries, and they are not a team to concede tries from 50-60 metres out.
‘We didn’t get ourselves into optimum positions, and we didn’t kick well. I thought our lineout was good and our scrum achieved parity, but a lot of things didn’t go right for us on the day.’
Willem de Waal failed to dominate with his much-vaunted left boot, and instead it was the Crusaders that held the ascendancy for most of the game.
It was by no means a classic with errors the norm rather than the exception. Before fronting another well-structured team in the Waratahs, the struggling Stormers will need to improve significantly.
‘It was pretty disappointing to lose, we really thought we had a chance of being the first South African side to knock over the Crusaders at home,’ said Gold. ‘By our own standards, we weren’t good enough, and that’s the feedback we as coaches have got from the senior players.
‘We kicked well against the Lions, and although we lost to the Bulls I thought our tactical kicking was good at Loftus. We’ve been working hard on our kicking [on Monday] as we are expecting it to be a factor in the coming game.’
The Tahs secured second position on the Super 14 log after a great win over the Blues last Friday. Daniel Halangahu excelled for the Tahs at pivot, and after a lukewarm start to the competition, the Sydneysiders are beginning to find their way.
Conversely, the Stormers languish in ninth-place and are under immense pressure to perform this Saturday. Conrad Jantjes may be awarded a start at fullback with the newly-arrived Wylie Human set to begin on the wing, a move that could also see a reshuffle in the centres.
Gold said the Stormers will not overdo the kicking tactic and need to find balance on attack. The Tahs possess players capable of the adventurous as well as the measured, and it would be foolish to prepare for one without anticipating the other.
‘We know the Waratahs can mix a good kicking game with a strong counterattack. They have two exciting flyhalves and whether Daniel Halangahu or Kurley Beale starts, we know they’ll have a 10 with flair and a sound kicking game,’ he said.
By Jon Cardinelli