CAPE TOWN – Stormers coach Robbie Fleck knows all too well that you can’t rely on penalties to beat the Chiefs, and the Stormers boss confirmed on Thursday that his team are going into the huge clash to “win by tries” – whatever it takes.

At the Stormers’ team announcement at Newlands on Thursday, Fleck said the only way to beat the Kiwi opposition is by scoring more tries than Dave Rennie’s team.

And considering the game the Stormers have been playing until now, scoring tries seems all-important to them.

“Our mindset going into this game is that we’re going to win it by tries, and if that means we’re going to have to push the offloads and play like we have in the past, then that’s the way we’re going to do it,” Fleck said.

“If you want to beat the Chiefs, you have to score more tries than them, their mindset is that they’ll outscore you and defend their line whatever it takes. They can play any game they want to and they can do it under any conditions.

“For us to just mindlessly kick and try and defend our way to winning, is not the right way to go against Kiwi sides.

When Rennie addressed the media on Wednesday, he said that one of their main goals against the Stormers was to nullify their attacking and offloading game.

Fleck, of course, on Thursday added that Rennie’s men won’t be the only ones looking to limit the opposition’s attacking damage, and he knows what the Chiefs can do.

When the Stormers hosted the Chiefs in the Super Rugby quarter-final at Newlands last year, the Stormers struggled to cope with the Chiefs’ tempo and intensity, and since that 60-21 whipping, the Stormers have worked hard at progressing their attacking game and preparing for the New Zealand teams so much so that they’ve been having weekly “Kiwi Days”.

And their hard work has showed.

The Stormers not only look better conditioned, but a lot of the things they’ve tried on attack has also stuck.

“He’s obviously done his work and noticed that that’s a strength of ours (attack and offoads). Knowing Dave Rennie, he’ll come up with some smart plans to try and nullify that,” Fleck said.

“We have to nullify the same things from them, they’ve probably been doing it for longer than us. So we’ve got our work cut out. They’re an aggressive team and they come hard off the line, they don’t mind giving away penalties.

“They don’t mind you going for the three points, but we have to be better than that. We can’t just accept three points all the time, we have to keep pushing.”

Fleck said their heavy defeat to the Chiefs hasn’t been a talking point in the Stormers changerooms, and added that they’ve enjoyed a good week in terms of preparation, despite the fact that a number players weren’t able to take part in every Stormers training session due to their involvement in the Springbok training camp in Stellenbosch this week.

“We know what happened last year and we don’t have to remind the players of that. We’ve just been focusing on what we have to do. The Chiefs pose the same problems as last year, and we’ve spent the majority of our pre-season fixing those problems. It’s been a good week.”

The Chiefs have named a number of potent kickers in their backline, including Stephen Donald at inside centre. But Fleck said he wasn’t too concerned about that, because the Chiefs will play their “natural game” and not kick too much ball away. “They’ve got some great kickers in their backs. They’re tactically smart and they get good distance,” Fleck said.

“Their natural game is to play and work off your mistakes. It will play a part, but once they get going their game will fall into place.”


SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, Dan du Plessis, Dillyn Leyds, Robert du Preez, Dewaldt Duvenage, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Siya Kolisi (captain), Cobus Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, JC Janse van Rensburg; Replacements: Ramone Samuels, Oli Kebble, Frans Malherbe, Jan de Klerk, Nizaam Carr, Justin Phillips, Kurt Coleman, Dan Kriel

Cape Times