Stormers up against 'All Black pack' in Christchurch

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 10:11

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers will be facing the tournament's best forward pack in Christchurch, according to the Cape side's assistant coach Paul Feeney.

The Stormers' opponents in Round Nine, the Crusaders, are the only unbeaten team left in this year's Super Rugby tournament and Feeney knows that his side will have to be at their best up front if they are to record their first-ever win in Christchurch.

"Some of their starting forwards starts for the All Blacks," Feeney told reporters from New Zealand. "There is [Joe] Moody, [Owen] Franks, [Samuel] Whitelock, [Kieran] Read. Then you got [Wyatt] Crockett, [Luke] Romano, [Scott] Barrett, [Matt] Todd - they can put out an All Black forward pack easily, so that is what makes them dangerous. "

"They are very good at the set piece, they are very physical and they are very well-organised."

Feeney added: "In the backs. Richie Mo'unga has come of age and he's got about three Super Rugby campaigns under his belt. Ryan Crotty in the midfield is rock solid...so they got a good group of players across the park, but it all starts with their forward pack. 

"It is the best forward pack going around in Super Rugby, simple as that and that is what they lay their platform on."

After winning their first six games, the Stormers were outplayed in several areas in their 16-29 defeat to the Lions last weekend.

It was definitely not the result the Stormers would have wanted before their tough New Zealand tour, but Feeney believes it has helped them identify some of their problem areas.

"Scrums on our ball were nice and solid, but we had a couple of lapses in concentration on their ball," said Feeney. 

"At line-out time we lost a couple of balls as well. In that 12 minutes [after half-time] in their 22, we had a couple of line-outs and we had three scrums not far from their line and we were very close to getting over on three occasions. Whether it was the option taking by the backs out wide, our picking and going or not staying patient enough, we just could not quite finish them off. 

"It is the team's attack in general which we need to sharpen up a bit. We were not quite as good as were the week before against the Chiefs."

By Warren Fortune
@FortuneWarren
@rugby365com

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Team P W D L Pts
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Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
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Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
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Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23