Stormers know nature of the beast
Tue, 13 May 2014 09:28
The Stormers' insight into the Force stretches beyond their South African flavour with players, coaches and blue-prints all originating in Cape Town.
The Stormers' insight into the Force stretches beyond their South African flavour with players, coaches and blue-prints all originating in Cape Town
The return of ex-Cheetahs players Sias Ebersohn and Wilhelm Steenkamp was well documented when the Force defeated the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
However, below the surface, the Stormers have even more of a link with the Western Force.
Kevin Foote, a former University of Cape Town coach and Dave Wessels, a former defence consultant with the Ikey Tigers now ply their trade on the Force's coaching board and their influence has clearly been felt.
The Stormers backline coach, Robbie Fleck, is well aware of what the South Africans bring to the Force when he spoke to rugby365.
"We know pretty much all of them, the way that they are playing has a big South African mindset," Fleck said.
"There are a couple South African players, South African coaches and they have definitly brought a South African element to the way that they play.
"We know exactly what it takes to enact a game plan like theirs, and they have done exceptionally well this year.
"In the past they have always had a bit of a leaky defence that now has been made pretty solid.
"David Wessels has made a massive impact there, he has fixed up their defence, they used to leak more than they could score but they have always had the ability to score.
"With Dave there now he has pretty much taken a blue print of the Stormers defence because he worked here with Jacques Nienaber."
Fleck and the Stormers insight into the Force is a clear advantage but the backline coach is under no illusions that this knowledge will immediately equal victory.
"It definitely is an advantage if you know what their mindset is, but in saying that we have known what the Bulls mindset is for the last 10 years," Fleck added.
"They haven't changed at all, it is just how they execute it, this weekend they [the Bulls] just executed their plan better.
"The Force will look to do the same, there is nothing fancy about it, they are going to boss the collisions and the breakdowns and then play rugby in your half and it is as simple as that.
"The Force are not shy to tell you about it [their game-plan] pretty much like the Bulls do.
"They have got a game plan and they stick to it and they back it.
"They have got a lot of belief and those South African guys have definitly had an influence in that regard."
The run in to the end of the tournament finally looks to favour the bottom-placed Stormers with four out of five games at home.
Additionally, as Fleck has made note of, the types of teams they play are all very similar in style giving them a constant opposition to battle against.
"We are facing that style of play for the remainder of the competition - the Cheetahs play a similar game [to the Bulls and Force], the Sharks definitly play that style," Fleck concluded.
"Then we play the Bulls and the Sharks again so it is a dress rehearsal.
"It is all about us getting it right in the next two days, we need to get right what we did wrong against the Bulls otherwise we will face a similar situation and lose it at the end.
"We need to work massively hard on our exit and our kicking game and then continue in the same vein that we have ben with our attacking game."
By Darryn Pollock