Thu, 22 Apr 2021

  • The Stormers will look to play a more attractive brand of rugby in the preparation series.
  • Coach John Dobson, however, has stressed that they won't be shying away from their set-piece strengths.
  • Dobson says the preparation series will be used to give game time to as many players as possible.

The Stormers will take steps at employing a more fluid style of play during the upcoming preparation series.

The Capetonians copped heavy flak for an apparent over-reliance on their set-piece game during the recent Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup competitions.

While addressing reporters in a virtual media briefing on Wednesday, coach John Dobson said they won't shy away from their strengths but hinted that the players would be given more freedom to express themselves.

"The whole rugby product, it wasn't unique to us... we have just come off a call with SA Rugby where we looked at how the franchises had played and how defences have dominated throughout. We decided the responsible thing to get ready for Rainbow Cup was to evolve our territory game.

"Our next step is to play rugby that suits this team's DNA, but we cannot go back from this territory game. We would like to play more attacking rugby and empower the players. Maybe in the last competition we were very prescriptive about zones on the field. Now it is going to be more about Tristan Lleyds and Kade Wolhuter, Timmy (Swiel) when he plays and Damian (Willemse) when he is back being allowed to make those decisions. We must now add to it, with a more fluid [style] and exciting talent," Dobson said.

Saturday's team to face the Cheetahs boasts a good balance of experience and youth and Dobson said the preparation series would be a juggling act when it comes to giving enough players game time.

"One of the frustrations of the time we find ourselves in is that there are no other competitions - no under-21 Championship, no SuperSport Challenge - so we haven't had a chance to look at our depth. As we got to the sharp end of the Currie Cup, we were under pressure to make the playoffs, so we couldn't give as many guys a run as we would have liked.

"It's important to us that we get guys in who are important to our plans. We are not treating this, like, give everybody a game or an under-21 competition. We could be going into the Rainbow Cup in a couple of weeks' time. We need to look at guys who we could end up playing. That's the idea behind it.

"We are actually quite lucky that our first two games are against the Cheetahs and Griquas (Kimberley, 10 March). Because those teams aren't involved in the Rainbow Cup, I would imagine they will be playing close to their full strength teams and will have all the points to prove."

The Stormers will also play the Bulls (Pretoria, 19 March) and Lions (Cape Town, 27 March) and Dobson stressed that all of their top Boks would get a run.

"That's why it's called a preparation series. But at what stage we're going to do it... that's probably the only debate."

Saturday's clash at Cape Town Stadium kicks off at 17:15.

Teams:

Stormers

15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Mnombo Zwelendaba

Cheetahs

TBA

Source: News24

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