Following the DHL Stormers victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday much of the talk was of the incredible display of the forward pack. From the set-pieces to a marauding maul, the tight five dominated with the loosies putting huge pressure on the visitors.
The strength of the pack meant limited opportunities for the backs. Backline coach Robbie Fleck, however felt on the balance of the game it was the right decision to keep the ball in the tight areas. He said: “From a team point of view it was a good start to the season. There is a lot of pressure to start on a winning note and so it is good to have done so. From a backline perspective it was a game where there were limited opportunities, but the way the game went we needed our pack to dominate and keep it in the tight and they did just that. When your pack to dominate that well, you want to keep it in those phases of the play.
“I do think the backline unit has a bit of work to do and to get right, but hopefully they will get more of a chance to do so.”
One of the more exciting elements of Saturday’s clash was the return of Joe Pietersen to the DHL Stormers set up after his time in Europe and the debut of winger Gerhard van den Heever. Fleck was happy with both of their performances on the DHL Newlands field. He said: “Joe was very solid on Saturday. His goal kicking was excellent and he joined the line well on a few occasions. Gerhard also had some good ball carries and took us over the gain line. He had limited opportunities, but I think he did well for his first time in a Stormers jersey.”
The big news this week was the return of Peter Grant, who is back in the Cape after another stint in Japan. Despite only being back for a few days, Fleck has already hailed his influence on the squad.
“Bash was only able to join us for one session, but his impact was immediate. He is an experienced player and he brings a bit of composure and stability to our team. He is a great team-man so it has been fantastic him to have him back in the setup.”
Saturday’s clash against the Sharks will be the first of eight local derbies they will face during the campaign. Whilst the men from Durban were defeated by the Vodacom Bulls last time out, Robbie knows of the threat that the Sharks’ backline possesses. “They have a lot of youngsters in their backline, but there also some experienced guys like JP Pietersen. They also have some really impressive individuals in guys like Pat Lambie and Lwazi Mvovo so they have the potential to be a very dangerous and exciting backline.”
You can see how the DHL Stormers fair this Saturday with kickoff at DHL Newlands at 19:10. Tickets are available now at Ticketpros.co.za, all Postnet stores or at the stadium.