Stormers players happy with attacking style of play, says Labeeb Levy
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Cape Town - The Stormers need to persevere with their attacking approach, as it will bear fruit in the United Rugby Championship.
That was the gist of the message from assistant coach Labeeb Levy this week ahead of Saturday’s clash against Edinburgh (6.15pm SA time kickoff).
The Cape side were dominant in the first half of both games, against Benetton and Munster, but the home sides bounced back in the second half to record 22-18 and 34-18 victories respectively.
But John Dobson’s team scored some wonderful tries in each match, and their growth in terms of their attacking execution is something that excites Levy, who is responsible for the team’s skills.
While the fundamentals of defence and set-piece efficiency are ingrained in the set-up, improving their attacking output can push the Stormers to another level.
“We took a lot away from Saturday. We felt a bit happier – compared to the previous week – with the style of play and a bit of intent. The players showed a lot of commitment, and style of play … especially the backs, who had some nice penetration as well,” Levy said.
“(Offloads in the tackle) is something that we’ve put more emphasis on in the last two weeks especially, and the European teams are good in what they do, but they are not overly exposed to that style.
“So, we felt that we want to bring something different to the competition, and that is just one aspect we are working on to see how we can use it to our advantage.
“It’s still a work in progress from the offload perspective, but we are looking at eye-contact in offloading and the ‘handshake’ when doing the offload. So, it’s two technical things, but there are decision-making aspects that we feel we want to get more mature when dealing with it.
“It’s not a feel-good or look-good thing – it’s about making a good decision about when to actually release the ball, and the guys came together… From a try perspective, it was one of the better ones from our team, and if we can continue in that vein, I will be happy – obviously within the team framework on attack and game management.”
Levy said that the Stormers are likely to change the team somewhat to give more players game time against Edinburgh, with flyhalf Manie Libbok and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer having left the field injured in the second half against Munster, which could see Tim Swiel come in at No 10, while Paul de Wet and Godlen Masimla are the other scrumhalves on tour.
But he also wants the players to show better discipline against Edinburgh.
“There are a lot of things that we need to improve on, like unnecessary penalties in various areas of the field, especially in the middle part of the field. There were some expensive moments that cost us, and there are some defensive things that we want to work on,” Levy said.
“Maybe a lapse in concentration, a little bit too over-eager at certain times. The guys are excited and playing for each other to a degree, running and sprinting to clean a ruck, but maybe the angle isn’t right.
“So, maybe the guys must just show a bit more patience, and if we can learn from last week’s experience, we can focus on that five minutes before (halftime) and just not give unnecessary penalties away 10 minutes after halftime, so that we can keep the momentum swing.”