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Stormers ‘fight above their weight’

Wed, 08 May 2013 19:15
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I have full confidence in them
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Captain Jean de Villiers says the Stormers backline will front up against their larger Waratahs counterparts in Sydney on Saturday.

The visitors will have a considerable size disadvantage to contend with, especially in the back three where Stormers coach has opted for Bryan Habana, Gio Aplon and Joe Pietersen.

Habana, at 1.8m, is the tallest of the trio and it is believed that the Waratahs could use their taller and larger backs to win the ball in the air and power over the gainline.

De Villiers, however, is confident that the Stormers’ outside backs will hold their own at Allianz Stadium.   

“That will be a challenge for us but I’m very confident in the backline we’ve got. We know our guys   and they’re quality players,” de Villiers said on Wednesday.

“If you think of some of the backlines we’ve played against there were big guys, especially the New Zealand teams, and we’ve done well in that regard.

“I’m more focused on what those guys can do from an attacking point of view because defensively I have full confidence in them and the team.”

De Villiers, who scored both of his team’s tries in last weekend’s loss to the Blues, feels his midfield partnership with Juan de Jongh is going from strength to strength and that young flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is improving every week.

“I feel the cohesion between Juan and myself is getting better and better and is growing as a combination and Gary is getting more confident in the flyhalf position,” he said.

With the Stormers often being criticised for kicking too much and considering the danger that the likes of fullback Israel Folau poses with ball in hand, the Waratahs are wary of a possible change of tactics.  

De Villiers, however, dismissed the suggestion, saying it’s a case of execution and option-tacking.    

“There will be times to kick and times to keep ball in hand. It comes down to decision-making and if we make the right decisions at the right times there will be opportunities for us to score,” he said.

De Villiers came under criticism after the 17-18 defeat to the Blues for his decision to turn down kickable penalties. The Stormers skipper said making tough calls is part and parcel of the role of a captain and said he stands by his decisions.

“Against the Hurricanes we did exactly the same and we scored a try off the maul and this time around I backed the boys and unfortunately we didn’t win the game,” he said.

“As long as everyone is backing the decision then I’m not worried about it and I think we had that at the weekend,” he added.

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