Vodacom Stormers ready for challenge

PUBLISHED: April 3, 2009

If the Vodacom Stormers want to win their Vodacom Super 14 match against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday they need to show major improvement in their attacking game.

That was the opinion of coach Rassie Erasmus when he talked about the Cape franchise’s crucial game against the high-riding Tahs at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Stormers disappointed their fans with a below-par performance against the Crusaders in Christchurch last week and the coach said the players know where they need to improve.

“It wasn’t our defence and it certainly was not our scrums and lineouts. The problem for us was to get out of our area and get into attacking positions. We kicked poorly and I differ with people who say we kicked too much – we kicked less than the Crusaders but just kicked worse than them.

“That is why we could never get into positions to attack. We only had two scrums and about five lineouts in attacking positions. So our first challenge against the Waratahs would be to improve our kicking game and our attack should be sharp and accurate.”

Erasmus is still optimistic about his charges chances of reaching the semi-final stage of the tough competition. “I would say we still have a realistic chance of making the semis and so do all the teams two or three places above or under us.

“If I look at the points table now I would say there are only three teams who are out of the mix at this stage. The Sharks are the only side who looks really good to reach a home semi.

“We have played one game less than the rest of the teams and we still have to play a few games. We are in a favourable position and I am not talking from a mathematical point of view only.”

The coach said the players are upbeat again and are looking forward to the challenge of beating the Waratahs on their home ground. “One should remember that since 1996 only one South African team beat the Crusaders at Christchurch. It is 13 years.

“The guys will never doubt their own abilities. We know if we played only 20 percent better we could have won that game. We will never give up and we will never stop fighting.”

Teams for Sydney Football Stadium:

Waratahs: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (captain), 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Dan Palmer, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Chris Thomson, 19 Luke Doherty, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Kurtley Beale, 22 Timana Tahu.

Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 AJ Venter, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 JD Moller, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Willem De Waal, 22 Dylan Des Fountain.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

Kick-off: 11:40 (SA time)