Stormers want to blow Lions away up front
CAPE TOWN - The Stormers pack isn’t looking forward to another 28 scrums when they face the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Don’t misunderstand, they want to control the scrum, they just don’t want a set-piece overdose.
The scrum was one of the areas where the Stormers completely dominated the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby opener, and against the Bulls, they certainly faced a bigger challenge.
It wouldn’t be too out there to expect the Cape side to overpower the Lions at the scrum at Ellis Park this weekend, especially taking into account the rather tough time the Lions had in that regard against the Reds.
And then there’s also the fact that the Stormers have the quality up front to do just that, something they’ll definitely want to use to their advantage.
They’re planning on it. Stormers hooker Scarra Ntubeni yesterday made that much clear, but that doesn’t mean they want their pack to get into formation nonstop on the Highveld.
“If I have to (put in a 60-plus minute shift), I’ll try, I’m fitter now, but I think we’ll also try and slow the game down. We definitely don’t want to have another 28 scrums like we did this weekend, so we’ll try to keep the forwards fresh as the games goes on.
“But it definitely is an area we’ll try and target. They also have Carlu (Sadie) and he knows our system, so he’ll know how we want to scrum and stuff like that.
“So we’re really going to have to put in a good shift on Saturday. The Lions might try and speed it up playing up there, but we’re definitely going to try and slow it down.
“The scrum is one area we’ll try and target, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because we also see a lot of good things that they did. At the end of the day it’s still a South African derby, and they always turn up, but so do we.”
When asked how his body, a body that has seen its fair share of injuries, is taking to the extended game time he’s now seeing with Bongi Mbonambi out of action, Ntubeni said: “I’ve come off the bench but I think I’m past the injuries now, I’m feeling good as well, so I’m excited.
“It puts a lot of ownership on me (Mbonambi not being in the mix). Normally I would have Bongi to bounce ideas off of and things like that, but I think now a lot of that has to come from me, I can’t wait for him to push me.
“I need to be more of a leader, so ja, it is a bit different, but I’m enjoying the game time.”
The Stormers, who are at the top of the combined Super Rugby log, face the Lions at 3.05 pm on Saturday.@WynonaLouw