The Vodacom Stormers are expecting a backlash from the Waratahs when they meet in Sydney in their Super 14 clash on Saturday.
Stormers captain Luke Watson this week said he expects a big onslaught from the Waratahs, who are – like their guests on Saturday – battling at the bottom half of the points’ table.
“They have lost their last four so they will be going out for a win,” said the Stormers flank. “Despite their losses they have still played some good rugby, their pack is strong but the loss of Rocky Elsom is a blow. They have quick outside backs so we expect they will run it at us.”
Turning to his team, the South African Super 14 player of 2006 said they needed to lift their game after the disappointing showing against the Brumbies last weekend. “We need to firstly make sure that were are competitive in terms of possession of the ball.
“We need discipline in first phase and control thereafter. We must keep the ball and build from there as well as execute what we do on the training ground.”
Looking back to last weekend’s performance, Watson said it was frustrating because they could net get their hands on the ball.
“We were dominating at scrum time and had stolen a few of their lineout balls but we had little possession with which to create opportunities. I think that our scrum is getting better and better.
“We dominated the Brumbies in those phases of the game which is encouraging. Despite a few missed tackles the defensive performance, considering how much ball they had, was positive.”
Watson admitted though that their tackling has to improve if they want to be competitive against the Tahs on Saturday. “As I said there were missed tackles that went against us. The Brumbies play a different style to the Hurricanes.
“They are less direct which means that you can’t just rely on one on one tackling, they play deeper and have decoy runners so your timing and concentration has to be sharper. We need to get our defensive alignment and the one-on-one tackling right against the Waratahs.”
Watson said the spirit in the camp is still good and they are optimistic about their chances of pulling off a win. “I keep emphasising the positives. It does not help to dwell on the loss. We must move on, take the positives out of that game, concentrate on our strengths and look to get things back on track.”
Waratahs: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Sam Norton-Knight, 13 Lote Tuqiri, 12 Morgan Turinui, 11 Lachlan Turner, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 David Lyons, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Will Caldwell, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Alastair Baxter, 2 Adam Freier (c), 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Wycliff Palu, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Daniel Halangahu, 22 Ben Jacobs
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Brent Russell, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Corné Uys, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Justin Melck, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Gerrie Britz, 4 Andries Bekker, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Dylan Des Fountain.
Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)