Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee admits he is wary of the scrumming power of the Hurricanes, but at the same time expressed confidence in the way his pack has scrummed thus far in the Vodacom Super 14 competition.
The Stormers take on the Hurricanes at Newlands on Saturday evening. They will be looking to continue where they left off against the Highlanders last Saturday. The Canes boast a few big-name international stars and their front row in particular looks impressive on paper.
When asked about the opponents, Coetzee said the Stormers want to look at themselves first and foremost and what they want to achieve. “And as you saw against the Highlanders, we want to keep ball in hand and have a full go.”
Coetzee expects a fierce onslaught in the scrums. “We’re playing against a very strong side. It could be one of the toughest challenges for us in the competition, but it’s got nothing to do with what the Hurricanes bring – it’s what we want to achieve.
“This is a solid scrummaging pack we’re up against. They’ve got an All Black in Tialata and Hore and a number of All Blacks in the pack. It will be a tough challenge and they will target our scrums, but I’m very confident in the way we’ve been scrumming.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the pack that we’ll stand up this weekend. Brannas (Deon Fourie) has performed admirably well but T-bag (Tiaan Liebenberg) is a very experienced player.”
A bout of the flu forced Liebenberg out of last Saturday’s game and Fourie grabbed his chance with both hands, but the coach opted for the experience of the former again for this Saturday’s game.
“It’s not just Andrew Hore alone. Our team functions well and we need players to take the opportunity. We’ve scrummed well throughout the season, including last week when Brannas was there, but this is a settled side.
“Whoever you select on the day will do the job. When Tiaan pulled up before the game I’m sure everyone thought we’d be in trouble but then Deon came with a performance like that. T-Bag is a senio player in the side and he’s contributing well.”
Coetzee again emphasise the need to find the right balance between attack and defence. “I never want to be conservative and I never want to be on the other side with an all-out attack approach. I think there’s a balance that one’s got to look at and get right.
“The players are still creating the opportunities and with the right decision-making we will in time to come take those opportunities. We’re taking some of them but we know there are still a few that we need to finish off. It’s a work in progress and I’m sure in time to come everything will stick.”