4 things Stormers must remedy ahead of Pumas clash
CAPE TOWN - The Stormers’ performance against the Lions is one they want to improve on, that much the coaching staff have made clear.
While they secured a 23-17 win in their first competitive game of the season, there are a number of areas they will want to improve on.
Wynona Louw looks at four areas the Stormers need to remedy ahead of their Super Rugby Unlocked game against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday night (7pm kickoff).
The Stormers’ lineout is one of their strengths, but at the weekend, it wasn’t exactly one of their finest displays.
After the game, coach John Dobson spoke about the lineout and their failure to launch in five of the set-pieces, losing a couple of balls, while forwards coach Rito Hlungwani also said it was on their to-fix list this week, even though he is not expecting them to get it to 100% by the weekend.
It’s still early days, and maybe it’s best that these struggles came in their first match of Super Rugby Unlocked, but they need to do better if they want to make it two out of two on Friday.
Less aerial ping pong ... or at least get it right
Early in the second half against the Lions, the amount of back and forth kicking was enough to draw the eyes away from the pitch for a good minute.
While the Stormers won the territory game, the kicking approach they took with replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel after he came on when Damian Willemse shifted to fullback wasn’t great, or rather the execution of his kicks wasn’t. If they’re going to go that route on Friday, there needs to be better execution, because any decent team will make them pay for it.
More game on attack
The Stormers’ handling was a bit of a mess in the first half. They made eight handling errors to the Lions’ two and, needless to say, there wasn’t much continuity on attack. While they scored two tries in the second half, they will no doubt want to do more when they have the ball against the Pumas.
No “slow poison” on the Highveld
The Stormers can’t bring the slow poison on Friday, not up there.
In their opener, they were poor in the first half with all their handling errors, lineout woes and the fact that they didn’t completely overpower the Lions at the scrum.
They looked much better after the break, while their scrum also took shape towards the end of the game.
But at altitude, they can’t leave anything too late ... you certainly don’t want to play catch-up in those conditions. So, while they managed to hold on against the Lions at Newlands, a faster-acting lethal dose is going to be needed at Mbombela Stadium.