Stormers aim to start strong

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 15:08
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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.”

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10