Vodacom Stormers captain Luke Watson believes the key to a victory over the Bulls in Pretoria in their Super 14 match is to disrupt their first phase possession.
The flank said the majority of the Bulls game revolve around their tight five and first phase possession, the scrums and lineouts and the structures they play thereafter.
“So obviously it is going to be a big, tough competition for our tight five to see how they stand up to that. First and foremost our major concern is to nullify them in the first phase and to see if we can disrupt them at lineout time.
“Gerrie and Andries have been contesting exceptionally well and right throughout the season they’ve been getting better and better in the lineout. That at the moment is not a concern for us.
“We believe we have the ability to disrupt a bit of their ball. Obviously they go up against Victor and Bakkies, two very good locks in their own right.”
Disrupting the Bulls scrum is also on Watson’s agenda. He said the Stormers would try and disrupt the home scrum in any way possible and their aim will be to slightly spoil their ball and allow the execution not be as precise as they would like it.
“That would be a good start for us and a good foundation we can start attacking on.”
The battle on the ground promises to be a key aspect of the game and keenly contested. Watson believes his team have the firepower to do battle with the Bulls.
“In myself, Schalk Burger, Justin, Pagey (De Wet Barry) and Schalk Brits we’ve got quite a few guys who do contest on the ground, but their loose-trio is also a good one. Wikus has played well this season, while Pedrie is a seasoned campaigner.
“They are formidable opponents. Like I said, I believe the decider will probably be the first phase possession and what you do thereafter.”
Teams for Loftus Versfeld:
Bulls: Johan Roets, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, JP Nel, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana, Derick Hougaard, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw, Wikus van Heerden, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Rayno Gerber, Gary Botha, Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: Jaco Engels, Danie Thiart, Pedrie Wannenburg, Derick Kuun, Heinie Strydom, Morne Steyn, Akona Ndungane.
Vodacom Stormers: 15. Conrad Jantjes, 14. Breyton Paulse, 13. Corné Uys, 12. De Wet Barry, 11. Brent Russell, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Bolla Conradie, 8. Justin Melck, 7. Schalk Burger, 6. Luke Watson (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Gerrie Britz, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Schalk Brits, 1. JD Moller
Replacements: 16. Tiaan Liebenberg, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Joe van Niekerk, 20. JP Joubert, 21. Naas Olivier, 22. Dylan des Fountain.