Bulls to borrow Stormers’ blueprint
18 Mar 2010
The Bulls analysed the Stormers’ victory over the Hurricanes closely and believe they modelled the path to success.
The Stormers built their 37-13 defeat of the Canes on uncompromising defence and incisive attack. It is the former facet of play that Bulls backline coach Pieter Rossouw was most impressed with.
Rossouw’s side has struggled in this area, conceding an average of 3.75 tries per match. Their attacking prowess has served to veil their defensive shortcomings, but Rossouw believes they will improve on Friday, and says the Stormers’ defensive display has given them insight into how to beat the Canes.
‘They’re [the Canes] a wonderfully gifted attacking side, and if they get momentum, particularly under the new law interpretations at the breakdown, they can be unplayable,’ Rossouw told keo.co.za.
‘What the Stormers did well from a defensive perspective is commit very few men to the rucks. This allowed them to fan out in defence and put double hits on the Canes’ primary ball carriers. The effectiveness was in the accuracy of the execution and when two defenders are hitting you powerfully you are going to struggle to recycle the ball quickly.
‘That stifled the Canes’ momentum and they often played well behind the advantage line. We’re not in the business of copying other teams, but at the same time it would be foolish to ignore the effectiveness of the tactic.’
Rossouw also praised the Stormers’ kicking game, explaining that it forced the Canes to attack from deep within their territory and when they did, the hosts’ defensive line was near impenetrable.
‘People perceive the Stormers to be this all-out running side, but statistically they’ve kicked more than anyone in the tournament,’ he said.
‘Their kicking game allowed them to play the game in the right areas of the field and they backed their defence to pressure the Canes into mistakes. It was a pretty clinical performance, and one that we’ll be looking to replicate and perhaps better.’
Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke told keo.co.za that there were ‘no excuses’ for their indifferent defensive performances, stressing that they would have to improve significantly in the weeks ahead.
‘We haven’t been good enough defensively. It’s one of the pillars of our game we’ve built our success on and we have to address the issues there, particularly our defence from broken field situations and lapses in concentration.
‘We respect the Canes’ ability with ball in hand and we know that they will be the measure of whether we have improved or not. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on defence this week and are hoping that the fruits show on Friday.’
By Ryan Vrede