Stephen Larkham doesn’t expect the Stormers to move away from the ball-in-hand approach that's formed part of their focus for this season, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Against the Sharks last Saturday, the Stormers made more carries, ran more metres and completed more than double the amount of passes, but they battled to break down the Durban-based team’s stout defence, and ultimately succumbed to a disappointing defeat.
After the clash, coach Robbie Fleck insisted they would stick to the more ambitious approach that the Stormers have committed to this season, but also highlighted the need to handle the kicking and breakdown threat that the Brumbies would pose at Newlands this Saturday.
Larkham said they had taken note of the Stormers’ changes to their style of play, and were preparing accordingly in Cape Town this week.
‘It’s pretty evident that they’re looking to throw the ball around a bit more and to be more expansive with their play, but their defence is still very strong. I think in the first round they had the best tackle completion in the competition, so I guess as is the case with any team, you want to ensure what was strong in the past remains strong, while making minor adjustments to get a better outcome if you can.’
The Brumbies coach added that they were also looking to evolve their game as they look to launch a successful title campaign this season, having bowed out at the semi-final stage over the last two years.
‘Last year we had the best defensive record of any Brumbies side, and the best in the competition in terms of tries conceded. We wanted to maintain that this season, and it has been a strong point of our game, but our focus has also been on improving our attacking game. We’ve taken some steps to do that. There has been public and supporter-based expectation of the team, and we weren’t entirely satisfied with last weekend’s performance [against the Western Force], but this group has been together for some time and we set very high standards.’
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