Erasmus predicts another tough battle

PUBLISHED: May 6, 2008

Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus expects another tough battle at Newlands on Saturday when his side takes on the Waratahs, who also have their sights set firmly on a Vodacom Super 14 semifinal berth.

Erasmus has taken note of the fact that former Springbok defence consultant Les Kiss now is an assistant coach of the Waratahs. After training on Monday Erasmus said: “The Waratahs are always good on defence.

“They have conceded the same number of tries (18 in 11 matches) as we have done this season.” Kiss was a member of Springbok coach Harry Viljoen’s coaching team – as a defence consultant – in 2001.

But if the Stormers concentrate too much on the Waratahs defence and how to break it down, they could be in for a nasty surprise. The Waratahs are no slouches on the attack. Statistics show they have scored 30 tries to the 25 of the Stormers.

“They have individual brilliance,” Erasmus said. “Their halfbacks (Luke Burgess and Kurtley Beale) are special players.”

The big talking point at training on Monday was whether former Free State and Springbok hero Ollie le Roux would indeed be joining the Stormers for the last part of their campaign.

The Stormers lost prop JD Moller for the rest of the season and after Saturday’s game against the Brumbies Erasmus acknowledged that the scrums were not up to scratch. On Monday a few websites speculated that Le Roux, who played his last club game in Ireland on Saturday, was on his way to Cape Town.

An official from SA Rugby however said Le Roux would not be eligible for the semi-finals, as he didn’t play in the compulsory four league games. He added that if a team was decimated by injuries an exception to the rule could be made.

“Ollie is a good friend and he is coming out to visit me. He is not part of my plans,” Erasmus said on Monday. “If the need arises, we may call upon him. He can only add value but I’m not sure when he will be here.”

Le Roux told a website he would be available for the Stormers if his services were needed but added that no promises had been made about him getting some game time.

Commenting on the scrums, Erasmus said he didn’t think the Stormers scrum went backwards. He said it was more a problem with the control and channelling of the ball.

“The scrum was actually moving around, not so much backwards. It wasn’t a stable scrum. That will be a focus point this week and we’ll get it right.

“Gary (Gold) will get it right. But well done to the Brumbies. They really put the heat on us there. The scrum was a phase we thought would be one of the easiest facets of the game and they came at us.

“At the end our control of the scrums wasn’t that great, but it didn’t go backwards that much – it just was not steady enough.”