Steven Kitshoff has called for a big set-piece performance ahead of the Stormers’ clash against the Brumbies on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Stormers finished a largely disappointing four-game tour of Australasia on a positive note last week. The forwards fired to subdue their more-fancied Rebels counterparts at the set pieces and collisions, while the backs converted that dominance into points and ultimately a 41-24 win.
The Cape side will face another test up front when they host the Brumbies at Newlands on Saturday. The Canberra-based side has blown hot and cold this season, but they have consistently troubled teams at the set pieces and are – according to Opta – currently ranked No 1 in the tournament for scrum success rate.
Kitshoff – who led the side in Siya Kolisi’s absence last week and will continue in the role this coming Saturday – spoke about the challenge that lies ahead when fronting the media on Thursday.
‘We had our chances in those earlier games on tour and unfortunately we did not take them,’ Kitshoff said. ‘Putting things together and getting the win against the Rebels was very satisfying. That win gave us the boost we needed, and we’re really looking forward to playing at home again this week.
‘The Brumbies are a good set-piece team. They’ve got a good scrum and maul. There’s been a lot of talk about combating those strengths and building up some momentum.’
Coach Robbie Fleck confirmed that the focus will be on the forwards this Saturday, and that an accurate set-piece and kicking performance will shape the outcome of the contest.
‘The way the Brumbies play… it’s almost like a Test match side,’ he said. ‘We know not to take them lightly from past encounters. We’ve seen them push a few sides already this season. They did well against the Hurricanes earlier in the tournament and troubled the Crusaders in the first half of that clash. They’re a difficult side to play against.
‘We were keen to reward the young guys who performed well against the Rebels,’ Fleck added. ‘We wanted to play both Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi off the bench against the Brumbies, but other injuries in the back row [to Juarno Augustus and Jaco Coetzee] see Pieter-Steph starting. We’re keen to see what Kobus van Dyk can do at No 8.
‘We’ve been managing the workloads this week, as one would expect after a long tour. The preparations have gone well. The boys are looking fresh and we will take that energy into this game.’
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