Willie le Roux will pose the biggest attacking threat to the Stormers when the Cheetahs visit Newlands this Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.
The Springbok fullback caused the Stormers significant defensive problems in the last meeting between these two teams in Bloemfontein. He was instrumental in a fine attacking performance that yielded five tries for the Cheetahs, including one for himself.
The Cheetahs went on to win that encounter 35-22. It was a scoreline that flattered the Stormers, as their third try was scored in the dying minutes. The Cape side will feel that they have a point to prove, particularly on defence, in the rematch this weekend.
Much has been said in the build up about Le Roux and the threat he will pose with ball in hand. However, it's interesting to note that Le Roux has varied his play a great deal this season.
The Stormers defence will find it difficult to plan for Saturday's contest. Le Roux is capable of taking the ball to the gainline and manufacturing the linebreak. He's equally capable of sending an attacking chip kick over the first line of defence, and ultimately creating try-scoring chances.
The Stormers employed a more adventurous approach in the previous match-up in Bloemfontein, and this method backfired if you remember that they leaked five tries. They will need to play more conservatively this Saturday, and endeavour to limit the attacking space and counter-attacking opportunities for men like Le Roux.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Stormers 12, Cheetahs 8
In Cape Town: Stormers 7, Cheetahs 3
LE ROUX'S STATS THAT MATTER
976 – The number of metres he's made in 2014 (Rank 1)
108 – The number of kicks from hand he's made in 2014 (Rank 3)
17 – The number of offloads he's made in 2014 (Rank 5)
Source: Vodacom Rugby Stats App
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Franscois Uys, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Maks van Dyk, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Gouws Prinsloo.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix