Stormers coach John Dobson says his team will have a more pragmatic approach to dealing with the threat of Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn at Newlands. DYLAN JACK reports for SA Rugby Magazine.
The Stormers clash with the Bulls in their north-south derby, having started their campaign with a dominant bonus-point victory over the Hurricanes at Newlands last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are coming off a narrow yet disappointing defeat by the Sharks in Durban, where the visitors came within a whisker of the lead, only for the Sharks to seal the game with a try in the closing stages.
If there was a positive for the Bulls to take out of that game, it would be the return of veteran pivot Steyn, who made his first Vodacom Super Rugby start since 2013. With the wind swirling around Kings Park, Steyn caused the Sharks endless problems with his boot, kicking four penalties and a drop goal to keep the Bulls in the match, while also nearly setting up a try with a delightful grubber through the defence.
This is something that Dobson admits that his team will have to adjust to. A potential back three of Dillyn Leyds, Seabelo Senatla and Sergeal Petersen won’t want for trying to run the ball back at the Bulls, but may have to change things up against their aggressive defence.
‘That is what we were training,’ Dobson said. ‘Morne, the way he can kick distance and contestables, it is a real threat for us. We are prepping for the distance kicks. With this being the Stormers, we sometimes get sucked into trying to run too much of that back.
‘We get seduced by sometimes the chase lines being a bit farther off. We have steppers and they want to have a go, but we can’t get seduced into that this week. We have to be a bit more pragmatic with how we attack.’
In their opening match, the Stormers got excellent go-forward ball as their Springbok-infused pack ground the Hurricanes down.
However, Dobson is expecting a far tougher test on Saturday, with the Bulls boasting their own Springbok front rankers in Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka.
‘We had a plan last week which sort of went to plan. But I think with Trevor and Lizo against Frans and Kitsie, if those are the two that start, there will be a lot of pride at stake. Those are all proud competitors and great props. I think it will be a lot tighter for us at scrum time than it was last week.
‘Trevor and Lizo are really excellent props. Juandre [Kruger] is brilliant and Andries Ferreira is a tough competitor and really good maul defender. So, it is going to be harder work for us this week.’
The Stormers announce their team to face the Bulls on Thursday afternoon.