Stormers aim to start strong

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 15:08
Large francoishougaardstormerspink2 Large jppietersenstormers Large petergrantchiefs

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says it is imperative that his side get off to a good start if they are to break their Super Rugby drought this year.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says it is imperative that his side get off to a good start if they are to break their Super Rugby drought this year.

The Cape franchise have an unenviable draw to launch their title surge this season beginning with a tough away fixture against arch-rivals the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on February 22.

The following week they play the Sharks in Durban in a crucial South African conference clash before they host the defending champion Chiefs in their first home game of the season seven days later.

The Stormers made the most of their draw last year and got their campaign off to a perfect start with home wins over the Hurricanes and the Sharks before their first bye in Round Three.

Their task is substantially more challenging this year but Coetzee said it is vital that his charges emulate their fast start of 2012 to position  themselves well for the remainder of the season.

“The big thing is to start well. You don’t want to get on the back foot and lose a couple of games on the trot,” Coetzee said.

“We’re aware that our opening game is a big one away from home and it’s going to be a tough one but everything we do, including Saturday’s game against Boland, is aimed at getting it right on the 22nd.”

Coetzee said the second challenge is play consistently well and to ensure there is constant improvement throughout the season.

“It’s a long competition. We’ve seen teams who were never in the running and still made the play-offs and teams who started strong but come the play-offs were finished,” he said.

“It’s a matter of building an upward curve and making sure the graph picks up every time we play.

“Although we’re playing top quality sides, it’s important that we tick off certain things like our workrate and our physicality.”

Coaches got their first taste of what to expect from the extended 15-team campaign last year and accordingly to Coetzee, the greatest lesson learned was the importance of depth and competent man management.

“Depth is vital, that’s why we try to grow a bigger squad. It’s important to play your best players at the back end of the competition and have your strongest side possible to play in play-offs,” Coetzee said.

“With the quality [of players] we have I think we can do that and use rotation effectively. You can’t rotate if you don’t have the experience and class in your depth.

“When Schalla [Schalk Burger] comes back we will have a good combination of loose forwards. Siya [Kolisi] can play six and seven, Rynhardt [Elstadt] can play seven or four, Duane [Vermeulen] can even play four and six and he’s a good seven, so that’s the kind of versatility we’re looking for in our squad system.

“You never win a competition with just a certain number of players alone, you have to tap into your depth.”

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4