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Stormers to ‘give the ball some air’ in URC clash against Benetton, says Paul de Wet

Stormers’ Paul de Wet scores a try during their United Rugby Championship game against Scarlets at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch

Stormers’ Paul de Wet scores a try during their United Rugby Championship game against Scarlets at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch. Photo: Nic Bothma/BackpagePix

Published Nov 9, 2023


The Stormers will be looking to return to their rugby DNA and play a more attacking game in Italy in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Benetton in Treviso. Kick-off is at 5pm, SA time.

In an uncharacteristic display in Glasgow last week Friday, where the backline hardly saw any ball on attack, the Cape side had their supporters wondering what exactly was wrong in the first match of the tour as the visitors failed to score any tries in a 20-9 defeat at Scotstoun Stadium.

Failing to score five-pointers is something that hardly happens to them and, in their first two matches of the new URC season, the former champions racked up a combined 12 touchdowns.

But on Friday in Scotland, they just could not get over the whitewash, although they had opportunities to do so.

John Dobson and his men will look to set that right on Saturday in north-eastern Italy.

But Benetton are one of three unbeaten teams in the competition so far, and they beat the Lions 15-10 in a hard-fought clash on Sunday.

They will be looking to maintain that unblemished start to the competition and bag another South African scalp.

According to Stormers scrumhalf Paul de Wet, they will be looking to play a bit more ball-in-hand rugby, with the weather in Treviso allowing it.

He scored two well-crafted tries the last time he played in Stellenbosch against the Scarlets, but missed out on selection against Glasgow.

“The weather will allow us to give the ball a bit more air … it’s nice and dry on the field,” De Wet said.

“And this weekend, the field will be more like the one we have at home, so we are a bit more used to that. The 4G pitch (that they faced Glasgow on) is still a learning curve for us.

“The field we are training on currently is really nice, and it suits the game we want to play. We are looking forward to it. The 4G pitches are short, quick, and hard. So, the bounce of the ball can go any way.

“The team in control of the ball is way more in control of the tempo, and it’s also difficult to stop players in their tracks. They make a few metres in the tackle.

“But Glasgow is good on that pitch – you have to hand it to them. We are improving, but we still have to adapt more (to) playing on it.”

With some ‘normal’ turf underfoot at the Stadio Monigo on Saturday, De Wet will be hopeful that he can spark the Stormers’ attacking play.

Of course, he will need the forwards in front of him to generate quick ball, so the 2022 champions cannot afford a stop-start clash.

They are looking for their first win on their European mission, and the matches won’t get any easier as they face sides who also compete in the Champions Cup.

“Against Glasgow, we made it difficult for ourselves to play with ball in hand, with our scrums and line-outs not going our way at times, and those two yellow cards (to Evan Roos and Joseph Dweba). It put us under pressure,” De Wet said.

“We had chances to score tries, but at times Glasgow also defended really well. We look forward to fixing those errors, and the guys are excited to play more with the ball. Hopefully we can better the performance we put up last weekend.

“This is an important game (for our tour). We go for four wins, but we are playing against tough opponents at their home.


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