CAPE TOWN - AS much as the Stormers believe they can be “dangerous” with ball-in-hand, they will also need to keep a marauding Munster outfit at bay in defence in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash at Thomond Park in Limerick (8.35pm kickoff).
The Cape side scored two excellent tries in their 22-18 defeat to Benetton in Treviso at the weekend, but were undone by poor discipline and a couple of missed lineouts in the second half that allowed the Italian club to claw their way to victory.
It will be an even tougher defensive test for the Stormers against Munster, who scored six tries in sweeping past the Sharks in a 42-17 triumph last Saturday.
The Irish giants vary their play cleverly, with the influence of coach Johann van Graan – a former Springbok and Bulls assistant coach – evident in their physicality and set-piece efficiency, while Wallaby great Stephen Larkham’s creative touch comes through in their attacking play.
Bok lock RG Snyman also returned to action for Munster last week, and will want to make another big impact against the Stormers.
“One thing Munster do really well is that they keep the ball quite well. They can keep the ball for 20-odd phases, so we need to be patient defensively,” Stormers defence coach Norman Laker said.
“We must make sure we put them under pressure in the right areas, and force them also to make mistakes. That will allow our guys to have a bit of freedom and play with the ball, which we are really good at.
“We have more than enough firepower at the back, so the moment we get turnover ball, we will be dangerous. But from a defensive point of view, we need to be disciplined and patient to put them under pressure and force them into errors.
“They have a really good kicking game.”
Laker added that the Stormers studied the Munster-Sharks game closely, and do not want to repeat the mistakes made by the Durbanites this weekend.
“We looked at that game, and there were 17 penalties against the Sharks and only six against Munster. It’s almost impossible these days to play a high-profile game like that, concede 17 penalties and think you are going to win the game,” he said.
“At one stage, the game was quite tight, and they got an intercept and scored, and the game turned.
“So, our discipline is going to be key, to make sure they don’t get into our 22. If we can limit that, I’m confident that the boys will be up for it.
“We’re quite disappointed with the loss (against Benetton) after we were 11 points ahead. I know they’re a very good team.
“But we felt we had the game and we let ourselves down.”