Damian de Allende may be the man to penetrate the formidable defence of the Force at Newlands, writes JON CARDINELLI.
While the Stormers have only decided to play a more attacking brand in the past few weeks, De Allende has been an offensive threat throughout the competition. Whether he's featured at centre or wing, his physicality and agility has allowed the Cape side to breach the gainline regularly.
The Stormers will need De Allende to be on point when they host the Force this Saturday. The visitors are one of the best defensive sides in the tournament, a statement that is backed up by the stats.
They've conceded just 18 tries (the second fewest in the competition) and 213 points (the third fewest). It's little wonder that they are in the running for a place in the play-offs as well as the Australian conference title.
For this encounter, the Stormers have opted for Peter Grant and De Allende as their 10-12 combination. These selections should bolster the Stormers midfield defence, which has been poor in recent rounds.
But much will depend on the forward battle. Men like De Allende will pose a greater threat if the Stormers forwards manage to outmuscle their counterparts.
If the Force win the contest at the collisions and breakdowns, then it could be the likes of Wallabies winger Nick Cummins who makes inroads into the opposition defence and scores crucial points.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Stormers 4, Force 2
In Cape Town: Stormers 2, Force 1
DE ALLENDE'S STATS THAT MATTER
4 – The number of tries he's scored in 2014 (Rank 16)
22 – The number of defenders he's beaten in 2014 (Rank 14)
501 – The number of metres he's made in 2014 (Rank 19)
Source: Vodacom Stats App
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (c), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Brok Harris.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Michael van der Spuy.
Force – 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Subs: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Patrick Dellit.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images