But that’s exactly what the Stormers did on Friday in Melbourne when they cut off the supply line to the dangerous Rebels backs. Halfback pairing Will Genia and Quade Cooper are the architects of every Rebels attack, but the Stormers were alert to it through an intense defensive effort.
Although Genia eventually slipped through for a five-pointer late in the second half, the Stormers’ impressive line speed on defence had Cooper second-guessing all night.
It was instrumental in keeping the home team at bay and allowing the Stormers to claim a much-needed 41-24 victory - their first in 12 attempts on foreign soil.
“We put a huge emphasis on our defence this week, we knew Genia and Cooper would be a threat and the whole game plan revolves around them. We knew we had to get off the line and put them under pressure,” Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said.
“It was an outstanding defensive performance. We put them under pressure through our defence and our work-rate. The boys tackled for each other, they worked hard off the ball and created those opportunities on attack and for the first time this tour we converted. It was a good, clinical performance from us, so we are very happy.”
It was crucial that the Stormers did not allow this massive defensive effort to go to waste. They needed to capitalise on the Rebels’ errors, something they have not been able to achieve in previous matches. On Friday evening at AAMI Park everything finally came together for the tourists.
“We have been threatening this entire tour to put in an 80-minute performance, which is what was required,” Fleck said.
“It is a massive win for us, we have been fighting this tour and threatening with our performances. We have been training well but just didn’t get that win, but this is massive for the boys. Things went our way and the passes stuck. To get on that flight now knowing that we got a win on tour against probably the best Australian side is great.”
The victory is certainly a confidence booster ahead of a string of home games for the Stormers. First up is another Australian opponent in the form of the Brumbies, who are fresh off beating the Lions in Canberra.
At least the Stormers will have one day more to recuperate from their travels as they have already arrived back in Cape Town, landing yesterday. The Brumbies are only due in today.
“We get home a day earlier than the Brumbies, so we can rest up, see our families, and get back to work on Monday and then plan for them,” Fleck added.@ZaahierAdams