Fearless Stormers ready to shock Crusaders
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers are ready to put their try-scoring struggles behind them when they face the Crusaders in their Super Rugby Round 14 encounter at Newlands on Saturday.
The Cape side has scored just 22 tries in their 11 games this season and on Saturday they face a side that not only boasts the competition’s best try-scoring record so far, but also the best defence.
The Stormers are massive underdogs heading into the game and head coach Robbie Fleck knows that his team will have to be adventurous if they are to knock over the defending champions.
— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) May 16, 2019
“We got to play a tactical game against them, but if you play with fear against a side like this then you are not going to win,” Fleck told reporters ahead of Saturday’s match.
“We are playing against the best attacking side, but also the best defensive side at the moment. Our view is that if we want to beat them, we are going to have to outscore them in terms of tries.
“We haven’t scored as many as we would have liked this, but that has got to be the attitude.
“If we go into this game with a conservative mindset we won’t last too long, but if we go in there embracing the challenge and motivated and excited about the challenge then we are certainly giving ourselves a good chance.”
Set the alarm! It’s a 3.15am game early Sunday morning for fans back home as we take on the @THESTORMERS on Saturday night in South Africa. Here’s our team for the first clash on their turf since 2013 #STOvCRU pic.twitter.com/7UukUpi3Jg
— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) May 16, 2019
Earlier this week Stormers assistant coach Norman Laker said it is possible to beat the Crusaders without having too much of the ball. However, Fleck believes they cannot allow the Crusaders to dominate possession with their dangerous gamebreakers.
“There is a certain way you have to play against the Crusaders and in saying that we don’t want to be giving them any possession unnecessarily.
“They are pretty deadly on the turnover and I think that we certainly need to back ourselves by retaining a bit of possession as well and possibly frustrating them a little bit.
“In terms of the way that they play the game they are certainly a possession-based side and they like things their way. It is certainly is going to be a bit of an arm-wrestle in all departments of the game,” Fleck added.
With just a couple of rounds left the Stormers are confident that they can make the play-offs if they can beat a team as powerful as the Crusaders.
“There are five games left and we have done the sums and we discussed it with the players and we are certainly playing well enough to beat some of the best teams in the competition. I think that this weekend will be a real tester for us in terms of whether we can achieve something like that [making the play-offs].
“I don’t think we are at that stage yet where we have to push any panic buttons. It is just about encouraging the players and getting the right plans in place.
“This [Stormers] team is certainly capable of winning five out of five or four out of five, which could get us into the play-offs.
“This will be a Rubicon moment for us, testing ourselves against a quality outfit and if we can get a win against the best team in the competition then surely that should set us on the right track for the remainder of the competition.
“Our focus has been entirely on the Crusaders this week and really lifting our performances and wanting more. We are asking more from the players and the players are asking more from us, which is healthy,” said Fleck.
By Warren Fortune