How the Stormers can beat the Lions at Ellis Park
After keeping their first two opponents scoreless at Newlands, the Stormers can confidently be considered the favourites going into their match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday (kick-off 3.05pm).
Keeping the Hurricanes and the Bulls' scoresheets blank is no small feat, it's seriously impressive. But the one thing that favours the Lions, however, is recent history. The last time the Stormers celebrated in Johannesburg was back in 2015, with the Lions winning the last three encounters between them.
Here are three factors that can help John Dobson's team break that drought.
The Stormers may have been dealt a few really hard injury blows, but they're still packing up front. They were challenged at the scrum by the Bulls in their 13-0 victory, it's the Bulls, after all, but the Lions, on the other hand, will rather want to forget their shoving battles against the Reds. Honestly, I still don't understand how that happened. Anyway, this is an area the Stormers should own this weekend. I don't see how they can't. And on an overall set-piece front, adding a few of those driving mauls and keeping their lineout stats clean would also help. A lot.
Capatilise on every opportunity
What are the chances of the Stormers making it a hat-trick and blanking the Lions as well? It's a long shot, I don't see the Lions not getting any points, even if it's just courtesy of Elton Jantjies' boot. The Stormers didn't have too many try-scoring opportunities against the Bulls, and there were also a lot of points left out there with Damian Willemse experiencing an off-day behind the tee, slotting just one of his four attempts at goal. If the latter goes better this weekend it'll obviously be a big help, but the Stormers are going to have to use their chances against the running-hungry Lions. It's not like they wasted any against the Bulls - they made good use of the possession and territory they did have - but making sure that they continue that and do even more in front of the posts and in open play can only work in their favour.
Set those backs free
Dobson has spoken about it quite a bit - he knows he has a dangerous back three, and he wants them to pounce. While there have been some touches, like Seabelo Senatla's stunner of a try against the Bulls, there can be way, way more. Sergeal Petersen hasn't contributed much, which is a pity because we all know what he can do, and the mere thought of Dillyn Leyds ruining the opposition from the back in broken play is an exciting one. The forwards have been huge until now, but now it's time to see the backs equal that. And who better to do that against than the Lions?