Stormers to solve set-piece poser

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 08:09
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Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is looking for "big improvements" in his team's set-piece play ahead of their encounter with the defending Super Rugby champions.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is looking for "big improvements" in his team's set-piece play ahead of their encounter with the defending Super Rugby champions.

Coetzee, speaking ahead of his team's first home game of the season, admitted that "you can't operate in this competition without a proper set-piece".

Having lost their opening matches - away to the Bulls and Sharks - Coetzee is eager to get his team's campaign back on track against the Chiefs, who recorded runaway victories in both their matches.

The defending champions' 45-3 demolition of the Cheetahs, last Saturday, was preceded by an equally impressive 41-27 win over the Highlanders. In both those games the Chiefs' forwards easily accounted for the opposition's highly-rated packs.

While perhaps not as renowned for their set-piece place as some teams, Coetzee rates the Chiefs as a "very balanced side" that do posses real star quality in their pack.

"They have pace in the backs and a pack that is very competitive," the Stormers boss said, adding: "We will have to work very hard in this game to make sure we get set-piece dominance.

"They scrum well, especially [tighthead prop] Ben Afeaki, and in the line-out they have [Brodie] Retallick and [Craig] Clarke, two very good locks.

"We have to step up at set-piece time.

"If we get that right, the other parts of the game will fall into place as well."

The Stormers mentor said that while his team improved against the Sharks this past weekend, after their poor start against the Bulls in their opening match, they are looking for "much bigger improvements" this week.

"We are looking forward to be back at Newlands," Coetzee said, adding: "We had a good review and a good look at pride and responsibility from each individual."

While their set-piece play will come under the spotlight, Coetzee feels unforced errors are also an issue.

"That is one thing you can ill-afford against a side like the Chiefs, who really thrive on turnover possession ," he said of his team's high error count in their opening matches.

"Already in the session today [Monday], you could see that urgency and the accuracy, which gives me confidence."

Despite having suffered two defeats, he said the Stormers will never give up and remain confident of making a success of their season in a very long and demanding competition.

"Yes, it is two games down the line, but they were against top opposition, away from home," the coach said.

"We are still very confident that we can get it right. It is not a train smash when you lose two games."

He then pointed out the areas that most need improvement - the set-pieces.

"I am looking for a big improvement in the scrums, a big improvement in terms of our synergy, our engagement and speed of our engagement.

"We spoke about the posture of certain players and trying to fix those things.

"You can't operate in this competition without a proper set-piece.

"We got more line-out possession [against the Sharks], but we want it on our terms still. To dominate you must get your ball on your terms.

"That [set-piece play] is one area that I am not happy with.

"The other aspect is to cut [down] on those mistakes.

"You can't build continuity and you can't put the opposition under enough pressure.

"If you look at how we got into the heart of the Sharks, we just needed one more phase and then we lost the ball.

"You could see at the review today [Monday], the players are frustrated. We just have to keep working hard.

"When we hold onto the ball we do ask questions [of the opposition].

"Defensively we were good. In the collisions, against a massive Sharks pack, we did well.

"Hopefully we'll have a dry Newlands this weekend, then it will be a different ball game."

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9