They may be desperate but the Stormers will avoid wholesale changes for their coming clash with the Brumbies.
Props Wicus Blaauw and Brian Mujati are battling niggles following last Saturday’s 12-6 defeat to the Waratahs, but according to assistant coach Gary Gold both should be fit to face the Brumbies.
Gold told keo.co.za the team was hurting after their second loss on tour, but dwelling on their failings and making mass changes will exacerbate the already dire situation.
‘It would be counterproductive to make wholesale changes now,’ Gold said. ‘If new players were introduced at this stage it could make things worse.
‘We are disappointed with the display against the Waratahs, it was an opportunity lost, but we can’t afford to hit the panic button. We aren’t in a position to make excuses as we created enough opportunities, but as confirmed from the feedback in various meetings and video sessions, we just weren’t clinical in our finishing.’
The Stormers produced another outstanding defensive effort but failed to score one try on attack. To date they’ve scored one try in two tour matches, and 16 tries in their last eight games.
Gold refused to blame injuries and team selection (especially the horses-for-courses policy at flyhalf) for the Stormers’ attacking impotency, believing the changing starting lineup has nothing to do with the lack of synergy.
‘We set high standards for ourselves and just aren’t getting the results. You can’t turnover as much ball as we did against the Waratahs and expect to be effective on attack.
‘We will need to improve on this aspect before our meeting with the Brumbies.’
Gold believes the Canberra outfit are not vulnerable despite their shaky showing against the Cheetahs. Back in Australia, they will be tough to beat.
‘The Cheetahs played extremely well and so did the Brumbies. They were a bit wobbly against the Lions and lost to a strong Sharks team, but they will take confidence from that win in Bloemfontein.
‘It’ll be a case of two teams fighting for survival this weekend,’ Gold added. ‘You can’t call them vulnerable when they have players like George Smith and Stirling Mortlock in their line-up. Julian Salvi is another who’s impressed me with his work-rate, while Mark Gerrard kicks the ball an absolute mile.
‘Apart from putting in a clinical performance with ball in hand, we’ll have to sharpen our kicking game as well.’
By Jon Cardinelli