Gelant factor a threat to Lions
INTERVIEW: Warrick Gelant’s move from Pretoria to Cape Town has given the Stormers a new dynamic that will test the Lions’ leaky defence at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Stormers and Lions go head-to-head in the second of two SuperFan encounters in Pretoria, with the Bulls and Sharks playing in the early match.
Gelant, one of the World Cup-winning Springboks, made the move south during the COVID-19-enforced lockdown – after the arrival of Jake White in Pretoria.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen admitted that Gelant will be a factor at Loftus, where South Africa’s four main franchises will look to shake off some rust ahead of the seven-team domestic competition – Super Rugby Unlocked.
“It is our first game in six months,” Van Rooyen said, adding: “It is an opportunity for us to get back on the pitch to show how we have grown and to create an opportunity for the players to express themselves.
“It is important for us to show progress in all departments.”
He was stating the obvious when he described the Springbok-laden Stormers as a “great” team.
Van Rooyen spoke about the Cape Town’s outfit’s set-piece – scrum and maul as threats.
“They also have an excellent kicking game and they have always had a great counter-attack if you kick on them.
“With Warrick Gelant there the same will happen,” he said of the threat posed by the 25-year-old Bok back.
“It is a great test for us after the game we had against them in Super Rugby, when they beat us the 84th minute.
“It will be good for us to test where we are physically, a good test for our set-piece.”
The Stormers won 33-30 in Johannesburg back in February in a game in which both teams scored four tries.
However, the Lions’ biggest problem was their defence – as they conceded 27 tries in six matches.
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Stormers coach John Dobson said his team focussed on a better territorial game – as, in their last two games before lockdown, they failed miserably in that department.
In their 14-24 loss to the Sharks they only had 38 percent territory and the week before in a 14-33 loss to the Blues it was 39 percent.
“When you have lost two in a row you go really deep, maybe too deep in some ways,” Dobson said.
“We looked at everything, from our culture, training methods, times, recovery systems, territory game, everything has been pulled apart and we are very excited about the changes we have made.
“We have worked probably the most on our kicking and territory game, our kicking system, getting our chase right and upskilling the likes of Herschel [Jantjies] Damian [Willemse] Godlen [Masimla].
“That has probably been the biggest part of our game change,” he added.