CAPE TOWN – Stormers assistant coach Paul Treu says they want to build “smart players who make smart decisions” when it comes to defence, particularly line speed.
The Stormers were particularly good in that department in their 37-20 victory over the Blues at Newlands at the weekend, and they put a New Zealand outfit who were already not very organised with ball in hand under even more pressure with their speed and intensity on defence.
Head coach Robbie Fleck has mentioned their desire to continue growing the skill a number of times in the past, and Treu - who spearheads all structured attack and defence with the Stormers - says they need to continue working to sharpen their players’ decision-making when they don’t have possession.
“It’s something that we’ve been working on for the past two years getting the line speed up there,” Treu said at the Stormers’ training base in Bellville yesterday.
“I think we had some good moments overseas and obviously some soft moments as well, but it’s always going to be a work in progress. There’s a time and place for everything, you can’t apply line speed to everything.
“It depends on the situation in terms of numbers and space.
“And that’s what we’re trying to build - smart players who make smart decisions, who know when to go up hard, when to cut off the options in the wider channels, and when to take it a little easy.”
And when asked what sparked the journey to employing line speed, Treu said: “It’s definitely improved a lot and it’s probably the best collective line speed we’ve had until now this season. And hopefully we can build on that. Now we want consistency.
“I think it had a lot to do with how the Stormers used to play. We used to make how many tackles per game back in the day.
“There’s an identity we would like to be known for. Nowadays with all the athleticism and how the laws have adapted, you can’t allow teams space on the ball.
“It’s maybe something new to South Africa or to some teams, but it’s definitely something we’ve caught on and hopefully we’re going to keep building on that.”
The Stormers will shift their attention to the Reds at Newlands on Saturday (5.15pm kick-off) before facing the Bulls at Loftus and the Lions at Ellis Park, followed by a bye.
The Australians will go into the Cape Town fixture with three wins under the belt, and Treu said that the Stormers’ biggest goal is to try and replicate what they did against Tana Umaga’s Blues, as they hunt their third win of the season after suffering three defeats on tour against the Waratahs, Crusaders and Highlanders.
“They’re coming off a couple of wins, they’ve been winning overseas on tour as well. We always say our focus is on ourselves, but they’re a well-coached team, they’re structured in what they do,” he said.
“I think what’s important for us is that we get the basics right and that we keep building on what we’ve started to build on. Hopefully there’s a repeat of what we did against the Blues. We will have to be at our best to make sure we win another home game this weekend.”