Mon 28 Apr 2014 | 01:27
Stormers fresh out of lock
Mon 28 Apr 2014 | 01:27
Stormers fresh out of lockSHARE
Allister Coetzee says the injuries to five of his locks are the root cause of the Stormers problems due to the effect it has had on continuity.
The Cape side have been inundated with injury problems starting before the season even kicked off with star second-row forward, Eben Etzebeth undergoing ankle surgery.
Added to this list is De Kock Steenkamp, Rynardt Elstadt, Manuel Carizza, Michael Rhodes, Ruan Botha and Jean Kleyn all who have had lengthy injuries.
The importance of locks (and hookers) for Coetzee is monumental, it all stems from the Stormers coaches reliance on the set phase.
"The lock position is such a vital position in terms of your set piece, in terms of who is scrumming behind your front row, in terms of making sure there is lineout dominance," Coetzee said.
"Your No.2 [hooker] is a very important guy, he is your spine when it comers to set pieces.
"We have Deon [Fourie] who is a fighter and is playing his heart out but he is our third hooker and he is one of the best opensiders.
"So you look at the lock thing and the hookers and we have to realise these guys are giving there all but might not be good enough for this level, they might not be good enough to play against these experienced players."
With out regular playing time together, a pack cannot function according to Coetzee and as such, the need to bring in new locks has meant that the set piece cannot operate to its full potential.
"The big thing is that the game cannot function if your set piece doesn't function consistently well," Coetzee said
"Last week our set piece did much better than this week and that is a bit of a frustration.
"I know we are missing players and we don't want to talk about it week in and week out but it is a reality.
Forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot was on hand to echo the head coachs sentiment, stating that the continuity of the Stormers play has been their Achilles' heel.
Without some sort of consistency in the pack there can be not continuity in the gameplan, and this all comes down to the frequency of forced rotation on the Stormers pack according to the forwards coach.
"As Allister [Coetzee] says, the set phases are all about continuity and that is something we have not had all season," Proudfoot said.
"When we did have continuity last week we went well, I think why we are disappointed this week is because we made errors at set phases.
"Continuity is how you prepare a pack.
"We learn lessons week in and week out and that's not what we have had all year – that's why our line out stats are where they are.
"I don't believe in changing every week, you don't change your play, you have got to stick and build continuity and that's what we have been trying to do.
Apart from the Stormers trying to get some consistency in selection in order to get some consistency in play, Coetzee has stated that they are transforming their game so that they move away from a purely defensive mind set.
"I have been asked if we are falling between two chairs, the defensive, conservative style and the other one," Coetzee added.
"There will have to be a transference, but the big thing now is to make sure that we don't go to the other extreme and just attack.
That is the balance we are trying to get and that is the process, so there will be mistakes, there are challenges, this is where we are as a team.
"Going back is not what we want to do, we want to play a balanced game, in terms of our kicking in terms of our attack, and make sure our defense stays intact.