We can't go back to the lessons we learned in the semifinal last year
The Stormers know that their forward pack have to step up if they are to follow through in the play-offs this season.
The Cape side have already claimed the top spot in the South African conference despite having their forward stocks severely thinned through injury, but that hard work will count for little if they cannot do the business in the knock-out phase of the competition.
Although they need just one log point from their clash with the Rebels on Saturday to secure a home semifinal their pack has been put under pressure in recent weeks, which is something they are determined to rectify quickly.
Forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot admitted to this website that their performance in the set phases has not been as convincing as they would like and added that they are intent on asserting themselves on the opposition more effectively in this area.
"Three areas that we are really pushing hard is our scrumming platform, our contesting line-out and our maul - we are not getting enough returns from our mauls.
"So I think that those are definitely key areas that we are really looking to solidify and get the consistency that we are used to," he said.
The Stormers' title hopes were sunk last year when the Crusaders shoved their scrum around mercilessly en route to a convincing victory in their semifinal at Newlands, and Proudfoot said that his side are not keen to go through the same experience.
"We have got to have a functioning scrum platform, we can't go back to the lessons we learned in the semifinal last year.
"We are really focusing on that and we are working really hard on it," he said.
Proudfoot said that they have taken some consolation from the fact that their scrum has not been penalised regularly despite being put on the back foot, but added that they are under no illusions about the importance of establishing dominance in this area.
"The scrum has not been a steady platform but the one thing that we have been happy about is that we haven't conceded free kicks and penalties at the engagement. Yes we haven't been dominant but we are not illegal," he pointed out.
Although the constant disruptions have presented a major challenge this season, according to Proudfoot it has also been beneficial in some ways.
He explained: "The most important thing for a pack of forwards is continuity, you feel like you are going back and starting from scratch again.
"It has been tough but in some ways it has been good because we have been able to really overhaul our systems and get down to the fundamentals," added Proudfoot.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has not recovered from his ankle injury in time and will not be risked against the Rebels, but the major concerns are around the loose trio where the Stormers have suffered another blow with the news that Canadian Jebb sinclair will not be able to take part in the play-offs despite pleading with SANZAR.
"It wasn't quite what we expected from SANZAR. I think there has to be some understanding, it is almost impossible to plan to lose four No.8's in one season.
"It is not as if Jebb has come in at the last minute like Schalk Brits last year, he has been around since we got back from tour," said Proudfoot.
The options at No.8 are Siya Kolisi and Don Armand, who is likely to get some time in the position this weekend.
"We have got a few options there that we are looking at. Don Armand is going to get some time and experience there and there is Siya so we have a few options," said Proudfoot.
By Michael de Vries