Brumbies coach Jake White singled out Elton Jantjies as the weakness in the Stormers and told the young man to prepare for a bruising day at the office. He also predicted a home team defeat.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee originally wanted to play Peter Grant at No 10 but an ankle injury meant Coetzee had to entrust Jantjies, whose defensive frailties against the Bulls in the opening game have given the Brumbies the belief he can’t defend.
‘We will be running straight at Elton Jantjies – inside his shoulder, outside his shoulder and when he gets up, back at him again. That’s it,’ White told the Cape media.
White, typical of his days with the Boks, told it as he thought it but he may just have calvanised the Stormers to rally around Jantjies, whose attacking game is capable of causing the Brumbies problems.
White was buoyant and bullish about his team’s prospects and said that while there was respect for the Stormers as a team and for the venue the Brumbies had the momentum and were playing brilliant rugby.
‘We are very confident. We haven’t lost, conceded two tries and scored some of the best tries in the competition. We’ve got an experienced team and they know if they pitch up and do what they have to do, ther is no reason they they can’t beat anyone,’ said White, who will be facing his mate and former Springbok assistant coach Coetzee for the first time.
‘It will be a special match,’ said White. ‘There is always additional motivation when it is mate against mate.’
White put the heat on the Stormers attack and said the hosts would need more than penalties to beat the Brumbies.
‘A lot of the squad won here the last time they played,’ said White. ‘And if you look at the stats the Stormers attack hasn’t been up to it and Allister has agreed that they need to work on their attack. If we can score some tries, they are not going to win with kicks.’
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen lauded White’s contribution in the last two years and questioned South African rugby’s refusal to use White post the success of the Boks in winning the 2007 World Cup. He then said there was no way the Brumbies would give up White and that the players now played for each other and their coach.
He said White had created a culture in which each player cared about the other and that the former Bok coach had appointed a strong support staff, which included former coach Laurie Fischer and legendary flyhalf Stephen Larkham.
‘These guys challenge his thinking and he embraces that. We’ve worked hard to get the culture right and he (White) has driven the changing of the culture,’ said Mowan.
White’s Brumbies are unbeaten this season and in beating the Sharks set a tournament record of seven successive away wins.