Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee expects another big onslaught from the Brumbies when the teams clash in a Vodacom Super 14 match at Newlands on Friday evening (kick-off 19:10).
The Stormers have had the best start to their seasons for many years by beating the Lions and the Waratahs in the first two weeks. Now they will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins to establish them as solid contenders for a play-off berth.
Coetzee, however, emphasised he was wary of the Brumbies, who have a number of experienced international players in their side.
“The Brumbies are a quality side. They’ve got a good set piece in terms of a very good lineout contesting side and they got a match winner in the form of Matt Giteau and the experience of outside centre Stirling Mortlock and a couple of Wallabies, which makes them a very dangerous side.
“This is one week we can’t afford to be a little bit off the boil and relaxed because we’re really playing against a quality side. They were competitive against the Bulls for quite some time and just lost it towards the end,” commented the former Springboks assistant coach.
Coetzee said to keep winning is more important to him at this stage than worrying about bonus points. “I was pleased with the win and the effort of the guys (against the Waratahs). If you see a defensive effort like that how can you be unhappy?
“It shows that this team plays for each other and they’re a happy team out there if you defend like that. You talk about commitment, guts and grunt and you’re talking about a team that defends, that was very pleasing.
“We haven’t won the first two games in the competition since 2006 and now we’re on eight points. The bonus point is just that and it comes with confidence.
“We want to make sure that we’re fostering a winning culture at the Stormers and we’re back at home at Newlands in front of 40 000 people, and it’s important to win and get right the things we’ve been working hard on.”
Coetzee and his management team have done their homework on the Brumbies and expects a different type of threat than the one posed by the Waratahs last Saturday. “They’re a side with good evasion skills. They run good lines and there are good steppers in the side.
“Matt Giteau is a good example of that and Adam Ashley Cooper from the back is also a great runner with the ball in hand and it’s going to test our defence definitely.
Giteau takes control of the match and gives a lot of direction.
“He’s got an accurate left boot and he kicks pin point kicks, so he can try and get set phase possession for the Brumbies and put us under pressure. He’s a key man in their side.”
The coach is also wary of the powerful Rocky Elsom, who is a handful for defenders with his relentless surges. “Rocky is an outstanding player, he’s one of those forwards with a lot of physicality. He’s a good runner of the ball and a good lineout contester and a good lineout jumper, so he’s a complete player.”
The Stormers, however, have shown in their first two games they are capable of handling pressure situations and their faithful supporters will be hoping for more reason to cheer on Friday evening.
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers – Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Ricky Januarie, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Pieter Louw, Andries Bekker (c), De Kock Steenkamp, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, JC Kritzinger.
Reserves: Deon Fourie, Eusebio Guinazu, Anton van Zyl, Pieter Myburgh, Dewaldt Duvenage, Lionel Cronje, Sireli Naqelevuki.
Brumbies – Adam Ashley-Cooper, Pat McCabe, Stirling Mortlock, Christian Lealiifano, Francis Fainifo, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine, Stephen Hoiles (c), George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, Ben Hand, Salesi Ma’afu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander.
Reserves: Huia Edmonds, Guy Shepherdson, Justin Harrison, Mitchell Chapman, Patrick Phibbs, Matt Toomua, Tyrone Smith.
Referee: Craig Joubert