Possession will be the key to a victory for the Vodacom Stormers in Friday’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the imposing Reds at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
That is the view of Stormers coach Allister Coetzee. The coach said you cannot win a game without the ball, therefore it will be vital for the Cape side to protect their ball.
“You’re in position to score points when you have the ball in hand. We’re playing against a good Reds side that is very confident. Their halfback combination (Will Genia and Quade Cooper) is in good form and they’re making good decisions there.
“In the last 4 games of 46 kicks they’ve run 31 back, and that’s what we took out of the Bulls game. They don’t kick a lot. Their intentions are quite clear. They like to counter attack with Quade Cooper and Peter Hynes, and they’ve got good centres in Will Chambers and Anthony Faingaa.
“They’ve got an attacking mindset, so you just have to back your systems and make sure that we tackle with positive hits and get possession back.”
Asked about the Reds strengths and whether he expects them to change their tactics for the Stormers after beating the Bulls last week, Coetzee said the Aussies are in all aspects of the game a very well coached side.
“They’ve got good players and a physical pack, so you’ve got to make sure that you look after your ball. There will be opportunities for us and we just have to back ourselves – it’ll be tough for 80 minutes but you can’t change a lot at this stage of the competition.
“The Reds won’t change at all. They’ll be playing away from their strength if they kick their ball away.
“The thing is that we have to back our systems when they have the ball and make sure we keep our ball on attack. We have to use the ball to get into their territory because they don’t kick it out, they run it out.
Captain Schalk Burger agreed with his coach that it will be a tough challenge to beat the in-form Reds at home. “It’s going to be a tough game because they’re a quality side and they’re physical in defence.
“But ball-carrying has been a real focus for us this week and we’ve just got to make sure that we look after the ball because they’re a very dangerous side when they win turnovers.”
Unlike other pundits Burger believes the Australian team doesn’t differ too much in approach from the New Zealand teams.
“It’s funny that they’re not actually that different to the Chiefs and Blues because they also like to counter-attack a lot. So gameplan-wise we haven’t had to change much this week.
“We’ve got to be patient on defence because they like to hold onto the ball and whenever we do get our hands on it we’ve got to convert that into points this week.”
Teams for Suncorp Stadium:
Reds: 15 Peter Hynes, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Will Chambers, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (captain) , 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Adam Byrnes, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Sean Hardman, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Jack Kennedy, 19 Ezra Taylor, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Brando Va’aulu.
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Sireli Naqelevuki, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 François Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain) , 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JC Kritzinger.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JD Moller, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Simon Moore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)