Stormers just need to 'man-up'
Duane Vermeulen says the Stormers will not make any tactical adjustments to their game this weekend, but simply need to 'man-up' and execute better.
Stand-in Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen says they will not make any tactical adjustments to their game this weekend, but simply need to 'man-up' and execute better.
Although the Stormers have lost five out of their six games this season and find themselves in 14th position on the standings, those expecting them to change their approach when they face the Waratahs at Newlands on Saturday are likely to be disappointed.
Vermeulen will lead the side this weekend in the absence of Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger who are both expected to be back in the mix after the Stormers' bye next week, and he made it clear that they will not be making any drastic changes to their gameplan, with the focus on getting the current blueprint to work for them.
Whilst frustrated by the way things went on their winless Australasian tour, the Springbok No.8 stressed the need to improve their accuracy in order to turn things around.
"We have got our set ways of working on stuff, and unfortunately the tour was a tough one which didn't work out for us but hopefully we can rectify that this weekend.
"There were just certain situations where we made a stupid mistake at a difficult point in the game and that put us on the back foot, but hopefully the guys learned from that and we have just got to move forward," he said.
One major area of concern in their defeat to the Reds in Brisbane last week was their dysfunctional line-out, but Vermeulen said that they still have complete faith in the system in place and simply need to execute better.
"If you watch the game against the Reds there was always one or two options open, I think it was just the execution. So I think it is not that difficult, we must just execute.
"We are not really changing a lot, we have got our line-outs and we have got our set stuff that is going to work," he explained.
When asked by this website whether they would be adapting their approach at the breakdown against the Waratahs who were frustrated by the slow ball they got against the Sharks last week, Vermeulen said that they would rather not risk giving away kickable penalties and will instead stick to their familiar pattern of bulking up the defensive line.
"We haven't been as successful - like on tour - at the breakdown. We have got our own certain places on the field where we are definitely going to stick our heads in the ruck, but when it is in our red or damage zone we are definitely not going to stick our heads in.
"We are going to try our best just to get the numbers game and win the numbers game, because they are very direct we want to get more numbers on our feet, that is the way we are going to approach it and hopefully that works out for us," he said.
Vermeulen said that the physically confrontational style of the Waratahs should suit his side who need to 'man-up' in front of their home fans to get their second win of the season.
"The Waratahs are direct, they are kind of like the Bulls side of Australia so this is just man-on-man and you have just got to draw the line and say 'listen, this guy is not getting past me'.
"This is a time to man-up and the good thing for the youngsters coming in to play their first game at home for the Stormers this is a good time for them to show their value for the team.
"I am looking forward to the physical encounter, as is the whole pack, we are definitely going to be up there," he said.
In terms of their attack Vermeulen said that whilst there is a set structure, there is a certain amount of freedom for the players to express themselves if the situation allows it.
"We have got our structure, and our maps and skeleton that we play in but you can't just take the guy's ability away from him. If he has got good ball skills you are allowed to try something and the coaches will never take that away from you," he said.
The Waratahs' defeat to the Sharks last week was marked by continous off-the-ball incidents, but Vermeulen said that he would not be in the referee's ear like Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis was and would prefer to keep his focus and get on with the game.
"We don't have to focus on that, if you just focus on the game and what you need to do then those little niggles won't bother you. If you start worrying about that then your mind has shifted from what you need to do and you are not 100% in the game.
"We will address that if it happens on the field, but at the moment we are not even thinking about that. The Sharks maybe had their way of dealing with it by chatting to the ref and moaning and complaining, but we are not going to complain - we just want to play rugby," he said.
By Michael de Vries