CAPE TOWN - Stormers back Dillyn Leyds says they don’t want to play a “free and expansive” game against Australian and South African opposition only, they want to do so against the best - the New Zealanders.
After losing to the Waratahs, Crusaders and Highlanders on their three-match tour to Australasia, the utility back said that their game against the Blues at Newlands this weekend will pose another good opportunity to see what they can do with ball in hand.
Against the Highlanders, the Stormers looked good on attack at times, but they struggled to finish, and find and create the space to allow themselves to convert their opportunities into points.
“We’ve reviewed each of our games and we’ve seen that it’s maybe just that final pass or the ball not going to hand. For us it’s a big positive being able to create opportunities. We’re putting teams under good pressure, so now it’s just that final pass or that last ball that should go to hand so that we can get the points,” the Springbok said.
“As the backline we stood up and we said ‘look, maybe in the first few games we weren’t as effective as we wanted to be’, we took ownership for that. But in saying that, at times we looked really good.
"We’re very confident in what we have to do and sometimes we don’t get the width on attack that we want to, but we’re working on it. And hopefully we can perform a full 80 minutes on attack and things will go our way.
“For us it’s the perfect time to see what we’re capable of as well (against the Blues). We want to be able to not just play the free and expansive style against Australian and South African opposition, we want to do it against the best, and at the moment the New Zealanders are the best.”
No easy scrums
Bok tighthead Wilco Louw spoke for the forwards when he reflected on their Australasia trip, saying that the Blues’ efforts against the Lions at the weekend showed that although the Stormers can be confident in their scrummaging ability, they can’t underestimate the Kiwis in that department.
“At Super Rugby level I don’t think there’s ever an easy team to scrum against. You learn every weekend, and the Lions were under a bit of pressure from the Blues, but they applied some good pressure as well. So it’s going to be a tough battle this weekend,” Louw said of the shoving contest.
And while the Stormers scrum is certainly one of their sharpest tools, their lineout has caused them a lot of problems in recent times, especially against the Tahs and Crusaders. Injuries to hooker Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni and even Eben Etzebeth JD Schickerling and Pieter-Steph du Toit (now recovered) haven’t helped Robbie Fleck’s team either.
“Our scrum is one of our strengths, but it’s something that we have to work at consistently. I think we have a good scrum culture. We’re paying more attention to our lineouts because we have to be good in both,” Louw said.