CAPE TOWN – IOL Sport rugby writer Zaahier Adams shares his views on how the Stormers can beat the Lions in Super Rugby at Newlands on Saturday (5.15pm kick-off).
For the love of all rugby Gods, can the Stormers please sort out their lineouts? Failure to secure possession on their own throw-in has become an epidemic. Every lineout lost is almost like the wind gets sucked out of the Stormers’ sails as they move from launching an attack of their own to defending their tryline within seconds.
The coaching staff have stressed that it’s not individual error but rather the collective system failure. Either way, it simply cannot be tolerated any longer.
Get over the advantage line
Not every team has a Duane Vermuelen who makes metres every time he goes on the charge, but the Stormers need to have a greater physical presence with ball in hand. Too often the movement was stopped dead in its tracks by aggressive Bulls defence. They need to step up their physicality to create any form of momentum in their attacks.
It will be a hard task against a Lions team who showed great commitment on defence last week in Argentina, but perhaps the expected recall of Cobus Wiese could add some grunt to the forward pack.
Provide Dillyn Leyds with support
The Stormers were caught out by the Bulls’ increased kicking game at Loftus Versfeld. Not only did they kick more but they also kicked intelligently. Often this left the Stormers fullback a lone presence at the back. Leyds will always look to counter-attack but was often isolated when faced with a blue wall.
He needs the support of his wingers, and regardless who gets picked there this weekend, they will need to drop back quicker.
Take control, Damian
There are not many 20-year-olds who hold the destiny of their teams in their hands, but then again, Damian Willemse is not like most 20-year-olds.
It may be unfair to expect a kid barely out of his teens to shoulder such a burden, especially when everything bar the Stormers’ scrum was an aberration in Pretoria. But that is what separates the good ones from the greats. He will no doubt need a better platform from his forwards, which will allow for snappier service from his inside backs.
At Loftus, Willemse seemed hesitant to play the type of rugby he is renowned for. He is at his best when he attacks the gain line with his twinkle-toed feet, while at the same time he must find a way to get more out of the players alongside him.
Get to the field on time
It may have been outside of their control when the Stormers’ bus was held up in traffic en route to Loftus, but that undoubtedly was a major disruption.
Hopefully the road to Newlands is clear this week with only the faithful lining Boundary Road in anticipation the only traffic they will encounter.