Vodacom Stormers will not panic

PUBLISHED: February 6, 2007

The Vodacom Stormers will not become panicky after Saturday’s defeat to the Cheetahs in their opening Vodacom Super 14 fixture in Bloemfontein.

That was the message from the camp after the 27-9 setback. The Stormers on Friday night take on the Western Force at Newlands and coach Kobus van der Merwe said wholesale changes are not on the cards.

Instead the coach wants to give the players, and particularly the tight five, a chance to redeem themselves.

“I want to give the players a chance to make up for what happened,” explained the coach. He wants to see more aggression from his players though.

“The players are not happy with themselves. We were critical at the video session and the players didn’t pull their punches either when we spoke about the game.

“Our tight five must dominate. If we don’t succeed, it doesn’t matter whether we have the best wings because we will never get them in a position where they would have an influence on the game.”

The coach said aggression is not something you can coach. It should come from within the players. “I told them they are the only people who could change the perception they are not physical enough.”

Ross Skeate will not feature in Friday night’s clash, as he has a foot injury. He would probably also miss the Chiefs game at Newlands next weekend.

Van der Merwe added his forwards should get stuck in against the Force. “We would have to play more direct rugby,” he said.

“The Cheetahs overpowered us up front. We need more aggressive forward play.”

The coach warned that his charges should not underestimate the Force. “They acquired the services of playmakers such as Matt Giteau and Ryan Cross.

“I think they were unlucky to lose to the Highlanders. We cannot afford to underestimate them.”