CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says it’s how they play against the Bulls on Saturday, rather than the result, that will be the most important thing as they prepare to go into the Super Rugby quarter-finals.
Following their 52-15 win over the Sunwolves last weekend, the Stormers coach said there are a few things they need to fix when they travel to Loftus for their last groupstage game against their old foes (3.05pm kickoff).
“What’s important this week is that we perform well. We’re not going to linger too much on the result, it’s about how we play. We’ve really simplified our approach and knuckled down on what has to be achieved in this game,” Fleck said.
“And if the result comes, then great. If we keep winning it helps with the confidence in the group. But we’ve got two or three things that we want to achieve in this game.”
Against the Sunwolves, the Stormers scored a few great tries from broken play, and the back three of fullback Dillyn Leyds, and wings Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla caused all kinds of trouble for the visiting side. But there was little structure in the game and the Stormers couldn’t get attacking ascendancy from the set-pieces, and Fleck was confident that the Bulls would provide a proper test for their outside backs.
“Last week we couldn’t see any of our patterns and we couldn’t see any of our structures. But this weekend presents an opportunity for that. They (Leyds, Senatla and Kolbe) certainly went well, and it will be good to see how they go this weekend,” he said.
“We know what they can do in space, we know what they can do in broken play and on the counter-attack … it’s in that structured part of the game that we want to see.” Fleck also said that the Bulls’ solid defence would be good preparation for their home quarter-final, either against the Chiefs or the Hurricanes, while he also added that he was excited to see how his three danger men go in a more structured game, against a more pressing defence.
“When there’s a good, solid defensive line – and I feel the Bulls can present that, especially when it comes to a game between arch rivals and up at Loftus – and that’s what we’re going to face when we face a Kiwi team,” Fleck said.
“They’ve conceded the least tries in the competition and we all know what that Hurricanes line speed does. So ideally we would like to see how they go in a more structured environment, and that’s what we want to see.”
Although the Stormers forwards might not have been as involved as they would have liked, Fleck praised their efforts against the Sunwolves, and added that he was looking forward to the battle that the Bulls’ physical, confrontational forwards will bring.
“We were happy with their work rate and how they got back into support play, but hopefully this week we can see how our forwards go. We want the best Bulls team out there, we want confrontation,” Fleck said. “We’re certainly up for it, and it’s important to get that aspect of our game right if we want to win a quarter-final.” The Bulls’ season may have been far from ideal, but Fleck believes that their old foes have a lot to play for come tomorrow.
“They’ve got a lot to play for. It’s their last game at home and there’s probably a lot of emotion that’s going to go into it,” Fleck said.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Duncan Mathews, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 John-Roy Jenkinson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet Van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Burger Odendaal.
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Dan Kriel.