Stormers coach John Dobson says the team is focused on optimising the use of their Springbok-laden pack for the upcoming 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Signs of the potential damage that the Stormers’ pack can do this season were seen during the Boks’ successful World Cup campaign, where the likes of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe caused havoc at the set-piece.
Dobson said that the Stormers will look to get the best out of those players by implementing a similar game-plan to that of the Springboks.
Initial signs of what the team could do this season could be seen as early as this weekend, when the Stormers face four Varsity teams in their first official friendly of the year.
‘I think we will hopefully see signs of it,’ Dobson said. ‘We are not going to hold anything back. But I think we will see more of it on the SuperHero Sunday. We have changed our game model a reasonable amount since last year.
‘Hopefully, we will see signs of a change towards a more explosive, power-based game than your Super Rugby phase-based game.
‘We felt that while some New Zealand teams get to three or four minutes with ball-in-play, we were conditioned to play that in the past but we lost that power. You saw with the Springboks that they powered those forwards up again. In the World Cup, 83% of ball-in-play time – from whistle to whistle – lasted under a minute. We need to be able to have sustained power.
‘If the Highlanders come with a bit more ball-in-play we will just have to show some guts.
‘The problem with a guy like Frans is that if we condition him to run for four minutes, we will lose something at scrum time. That is why we are going to focus on explosive power rather than running.’
Dobson added that a key difference between the Stormers and Boks would be that his team would look to make space for their dangerous runners, rather than for kicking territory.
‘I don’t want to talk too much but our game model is going to be very simple,’ Dobson added. ‘It is almost like Province were back in the day. We have to use this pack and the power, exactly as they did with the national team. But hopefully, we will use that momentum, rather than kick space, to use it for Damian Willemse, Dillyn Leyds and Sergeal Petersen.
‘You cannot take away the power. It would be crazy for us to bring those Springboks back and then they have to run 800m.’
John Dobson says the Stormers will look to implement their altered game plan during their Varsity Day hitout this weekend. pic.twitter.com/FGUtzuckpJ
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) January 9, 2020
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix